UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 66
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 Vegas 66: Cannonier vs. Strickland, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Per usual, a late-notice fight creates a slam-dunk MVP candidate to round out the year.
Amir Albazi ($23) is a stud prospect at men's flyweight. He's won all three of his bouts in dominant fashion -- including two via stoppage -- over three former UFC winners. Now, he'll step way back in competition to debutant Alessandro Costa.
Costa didn't even have much success on Dana White's Contender Series given a -0.17 striking success rate (SSR). He just got the nod via split decision. Given Costa stuffed all four of his opponent's takedowns, maybe the promotion believes he can thwart Albazi's grappling, but this is a canyon-sized step up in competition. Albazi is a card-best -480 favorite for a reason.
Behind Albazi, Sean Strickland ($19) stands out in the main event. The brash middleweight is well-known for his patented pace. He attempts 13.85 significant strikes per minute, compared to just 7.31 for his opponent, Jared Cannonier. Strickland's striking defense (65%) is strong, and he should hang around in this one despite Cannonier's power. He's been finished in just 2 of his 29 pro bouts.
Strickland is more of a high-floor alternative in a main event that's an even -112 to go the distance. Cheyanne Vlismas ($18) is a swing for the fences.
I already know I'll end up regretting the enigmatic Vlismas, who has seen plenty of drama in UFC from a public divorce from her training partner to crass post-fight interviews. Still, she should absolutely dominate this fight.
Vlismas' +2.90 SSR towers over Cory McKenna's -0.06 rate. Plus, Cheyanne's 73% takedown defense has kept her upright for all of her last two fights to do what she does best, and that's pour on strikes (5.83 landed per minute).
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Those three tower over the other favorites on the card, who are strong but don't have quite the same upside in fantasy.
Sergey Morzov ($22) heads that crew. He's live for a few takedowns (2.87 landed per 15 minutes), and Journey Newson hasn't defended a takedown so far. Newson's last snoozer (66.2 FanDuel points) against the waffling Fernie Garcia provided very little hope he can trump the wrestler from Kazakhstan.
"Quality fighter without much upside" was the supreme definition of Jake Matthews ($21) prior to his last performance, but Matthews knocked out Andre Fiahlo in the second. Matthews has a statistical advantage both striking (+0.99 SSR) and wrestling (1.85 takedowns per 15 on 41% accuracy) over the less-credentialed Matt Semselberger.
My favorite fight on this card is Julian Erosa ($17) battling Alex Caceras ($13). The all-out Erosa is second on the card in FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses (4.78), and his 48% striking defense should allow plenty of openings for the technical, savvy vet Caceras (+1.23 SSR). I don't mind either side.
Arman Tsarukyan ($19) and Rafa Garcia ($16) are also a couple of win picks in this range, but their wrestling-heavy approach isn't likely to pay off without a finish.
The lone argument against stacking Caceras is there are several quality win picks in the bargain bin.
Bobby Green ($14) is my favorite. Green's standing as the underdog is confusing when, in a sure striking match with Drew Dober, Green lands more (5.88 significant strikes per minute) on better accuracy (52%) with better defense (62%). He also hasn't been finished since 2017 while facing guys with a higher knockout rate than Dober's.
At the same salary, The Ultimate Fighter 29 winner Bryan Battle ($14) has insane upside. He lands 7.18 significant strikes per minute on 56% accuracy. If his 55% takedown defense can hold up, he should pierce Rinat Fakhretdinov's 45% striking defense at will.
Bantamweight wrestler Saidyokub Kakhromonov ($15) turned heads in Singapore with 10 takedowns against Ronnie Lawrence, and he's drawing a better-than-percieved matchup on Saturday against Said Nurmagmodeov. With no relation to Khabib, Nurmagomedov actually was controlled for four minutes and struggled against the less-credential wrestler, Douglas Da Silva de Andrade.
The punt level isn't bad, either. David Dvorak ($11) should be in for a tight battle against Manel Kape. Dvorak's 61% striking defense and 81% takedown defense make him a tough out against any flyweight.
Cody Brundage ($9) also has a wide-open path to a submission on Michal Oleksiejczuk, who has been submitted by both previous foes who entered averaging north of 0.50 sub attempts per 15 minutes. Brundage is at 1.20. I just don't buy Oleksiejczuk's -105 knockout odds when Cody hasn't been finished by more powerful foes in UFC thus far.