UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC 282

Russia's Magomed Ankalaev has a chance at the light heavyweight title on Saturday, but is his opponent a safer bet in daily fantasy?

The Ultimate Fighting Championship holds no short of a dozen mixed martial arts bouts nearly every weekend with no real offseason. As one of the most unique sweats available, UFC daily fantasy is live on FanDuel.

The strategy behind this fantasy sport is intriguing. Given that two fighters face off against each other, and some fights end in seconds, choosing which side to back is crucial, and there is a wide range of outcomes. However, getting the winning fighter isn't all that matters. They've also got to land enough strikes, takedowns, or submission attempts to score points!

numberFire is always the best spot to prepare you for any UFC card. If you would rather bet on the fights, our betting guide is excellent for finding value on Saturday's card. I also dove deeper into this weekend's slate on The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.

Let's break down UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev, taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday.

MVP Considerations

Get used to hearing this name -- and not just as the top MVP candidate on the card.

Paddy Pimblett ($21) is unique in his purely English haircut, his accent, and his desire to eat. He's replaced Conor McGregor as the marquee star in UFC, and based on the matchup he was given for this weekend, that meteoric rise should continue unimpeded.

Pimblett's opponent, Jared Gordon (a former featherweight) has zero career knockdowns or submission attempts. He hasn't sniffed a finish since his debut in 2017, so Pimblett likely has 15 minutes to try and find one of his own. He's likely to do so grappling (4.1 submission attempts per 15 minutes), but don't discount Pimblett's power. He's got six regional wins by knockout, too.

Behind Pimblett, I love the fight environment for Billy Quarantillo ($17). The logic is fairly similar; Quarantillo's never even been in danger of getting finished due to his granite chin, eating nearly 200 significant strikes from Shane Burgos last fight.

In 15 minutes, Billy Q can do plenty of damage behind 5.66 FanDuel points per minute. In fact, he's exceeded 98 FanDuel points in six of his seven career fights. Not all of those were wins. In a sport without a floor, he's got one.

Lastly, I'd check out South Africa's Dricus du Plessis ($19). du Plessis' last fight was a testament to his durability, but he comfortably beat durable veteran Brad Tavares with 113 significant strikes. All in all, "Stilknocks" joins Quarantillo in the top five on this card in FanDuel points per minute (4.41), and he should run circles around the passive Englishman Darren Till (1.56; worst on this card).

Other High-Salaried Fighters

With a grappling-heavy approach, I'm unsure of the ceiling Edmen Shahbazyan ($22) has, but he's a great win pick. Shahbazyan's three-fight skid has come against all ranked foes, and he drops to unskilled slugger Dalcha Lungiambula here. Lungiambula is 2-4 in UFC, and three losses were finishes. Though Shahbazyan is only 25, he flew through unranked opponents (5-0) in his first five starts. He should rebound.

Newcomer Vinicius Salvador ($20) gets the latest crack at bantamweight Daniel Lacerda. Lacerda has absorbed a card-worst 10.26 significant strikes per minute in three UFC fights, and his 26% striking defense and 0% takedown defense are putrid. Salvador's pace on Dana White's Contender Series (8.43 significant strikes landed per minute) was solid enough to see a lopsided fantasy score in his range of outcomes.

**Editor's Note: Salvador's fight with Daniel Lacerda was canceled on Friday. Both fighters will score zero FanDuel points.**

One of the other stars on this card is UFC's youngest fighter, 18-year-old Raul Rosas Jr. ($20). Rosas' per-minute fantasy potential might not be great (2.33 FanDuel points per minute on the Contender Series), but he's also live for a submission given he's won four of his six pro fights that way.

Last but not least, 35-year-old Erik Silva ($16) joins Salvador and Rosas in making their promotional debuts on Saturday. He's not a young, fresh newcomer like those two. He absolutely mauled his Contender Series opponent, and as a result, he leads this slate in striking success rate (+7.83) and FanDuel points per minute (8.61). I don't want to miss out if he's a hidden gem.

Value Fighters

This card has two of my favorite value plays from the entire year. It's a great final salvo.

Chris Curtis ($14) is the first. The veteran striker already has an established history of striking pace (6.00 significant strikes per minute) and striking accuracy (58%). He's thwarted elite grapplers like Rodolfo Viera and Jack Hermansson for a 100% takedown defense. He's also only been finished in 2 of his 39 pro appearances. His standing as an underdog to the unranked slugger Joaquin Buckley (poor 32% striking accuracy) is disrespectful.

The other is Chris Daukaus ($13). Daukaus wasn't the first (or will be the last) fighter to lose to Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes by knockout, but he's set for a striking affair with Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Neither has landed a UFC takedown. Daukaus is the better striker by any measure, and it's incredibly clear from Daukaus' vastly superior striking success rate (+2.45) compared to Rozenstruik's (-0.44).

Rarely is a UFC fight scrapped due to an injury upgraded in the middle of the week, but Santiago Ponzinibbio's was. Ponzinibbio was set to roll over a washed Robbie Lawler, yet Alex Morono ($12) is a better opponent. Morono and Ponzi are likely set for a duel with some length to it. The pair have gone to a decision in 8 of their 10 fights since the COVID-19 break. In that event, I'll punt to the 'dog in a close fight between strikers.

In the main event, Jan Blachowicz ($14) is being disrespected. There's just not a lot of danger to Blachowicz when Magomed Ankalaev has gone to a decision in three of his past four fights ascending up the ranks. In an ugly slog, Blachowicz will have a shot if his 66% takedown defense holds.

I'd also mention Bryce Mitchell ($15) and Steven Koslow ($8) as grappling aces with real shots at submissions, but the double-edged sword with grapplers is -- even in a win -- they're likely to bust on FanDuel if they can't find it.