UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 67
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 67: Strickland vs. Imavov, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas on Saturday.
It's going to be a bit uncomfortable, but the top MVP candidates this week have very little experience in UFC.
The headliner has to be Mateusz Rebecki ($22), whose betting data speaks for itself. Rebecki is not only -900 to win this fight, but he's +105 (48.8% implied probability) to win inside the first round.
Rebecki showed well with 5.53 FanDuel points per minute (excluding bonuses) on his Dana White's Contender Series appearance, and newcomer Nick Fiore's resumé is pretty awful. Fiore's six opponents have a 61-234 professional record overall. He's been crushing cans to make it to the big show.
Dan Argueta ($21) stakes claim as the next-best alternative. His UFC debut against Damon Jackson (who is the co-headliner this weekend) didn't go as planned, but we're tossing that performance aside. On four days' notice, Nick Aguirre hasn't even faced anyone with a UFC appearance.
Argueta's 75% finishing rate regionally shows he'll likely push for an early exit if he's in control of Aguirre, who normally fights 10 pounds lighter at bantamweight. Argueta's +175 to find a first-round finish.
If you're looking for more experience, I'd give the bronze medal to Sean Strickland ($19) in the five-round main event. Yes, it's that Sean Strickland, who fought the last UFC bout of 2022 back right away on short notice. He's stepping in to face Nassourdine Imavov here.
Strickland's tremendous 85% takedown defense is what makes his floor so high. He hasn't been taken down since 2017. That's how, even in a losing effort to Jared Cannonier last month, Strickland posted 97.2 FanDuel points. His pace (13.98 significant strikes attempted per minute) just dwarfs the average middleweight, and he's quadrupled the number of ranked wins (four) of Imavov (one) so far.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
If looking for a dominant, quick finish over the plodding Strickland, Allan Nascimento ($20) would be my fourth choice. His experience floor is just a bit lower, but he's never been professionally finished.
Nascimento dominated Jake Hadley as a +310 underdog in his last bout, and Charles Oliveira's training partner has plenty of his signature characteristics, too. Most notably, you see it in his surgical striking accuracy (61%), which is bad news for Carlos Hernandez and his poor 45% striking defense. I'd also watch Nascimento for a first career submission; he's got 13 regionally.
If there's a weakness in the kit of Javid Basharat ($18), we haven't seen it yet. He's been efficient when striking (55% striking accuracy) or wrestling (55% takedown accuracy), and he's defended opponents' striking (66% striking defense) and wrestling (87% takedown defense) at an even better clip. Basharat's one knock, from a daily fantasy perspective, is that he's yet to secure an official UFC finish. Newcomer Mateus Mendonca will provide an opportunity.
The powerful Punahele Soriano ($17) -- holder of five UFC knockouts in seven bouts -- is back this weekend. I like his chances for a sixth because Roman Kopylov, his opponent, hasn't shown a willingness to wrestle (0.37 takedowns per 15 minutes). If you can't exploit Soriano's shoddy takedown defense (31%), good luck not taking a haymaker on the chin.
I'd also turn to Dan Ige ($16) in this upper section -- especially since "50K" has a pair of UFC knockouts. The lanky Damon Jackson (50% striking defense) has had trouble absorbing punches before.
I'm an analytics guy first in UFC, but even I'll take the experience of Abdul Razak-Alhassan ($15) in a same-salary bout with debutant Claudio Ribeiro.
If Razak-Alhassan was struggling, it'd be one thing, but his 48% striking accuracy and 56% striking defense are pretty solid marks. I wouldn't read too much into his 1-4 record in the last five bouts; those same four losses came to guys with a combined 14 UFC wins. Ribeiro has never faced a foe with a UFC appearance, so he's a risky bet despite the 25-second knockout on the Contender Series.
If there's a fighter on this card overvalued, it's Ketlen Vieira. In her nine UFC fights, she's been outstruck eight times, and if you think it's been due to dominant grappling, you'd be incorrect lately. She's controlled just 86 seconds of her last 50 minutes inside the octagon. Lucky judging decisions aside, Raquel Pennington ($14) is a great value dart with back-to-back fights over 90 FanDuel points.
Pennington also fits the bill of competing in a women's division, and all four are more prone to upsets than any men's division.
The guys have some punt-level value, though. Jimmy Flick ($10) is a total boom-or-bust option against the athletic Charles Johnson, but rest assured that "The Brick" Flick will give it all to find a submission (7.20 submission attempts per 15 minutes) before any potential knockout. Johnson's slow UFC start (-0.14 striking success rate) just doesn't imply as much danger as his large frame at flyweight would suggest.
Finally, you diehards know I'm missing somebody. Umar Nurmagomedov is the largest favorite on this card (-900 moneyline), but his fight is also -215 to go the entire 15-minute distance. Umar did just that in his last bout with the less-credentialed Nate Maness.
There are only so many fantasy points you can score in a decision -- especially given Raoni Barcelos ($8) has an excellent 62% striking defense and 93% takedown defense (best on this card). I'd rather punt to Barcelos for cap savings, and he absolutely can win this fight. He's already taken down an undefeated Nurmagomedov before.