Combat sports are one of America’s longest-standing active sports to wager on. This was evident throughout the late 1900s as boxing took the sports world by storm. From Muhammed Ali to Mike Tyson, several stars were born, and Americans around the country placed bets on who would win boxing matches. Nowadays, with boxing much smaller than it was throughout the 1900s, mixed martial arts have taken the lead as America’s favorite combat sport.
By far, the largest and most successful MMA organization in North America is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, commonly known as the UFC. The UFC lays claim to the best mixed martial artists in the world and is showcased on both cable and pay-per-view events every month. As one of the most unique DFS sweats available, UFC daily fantasy is now live on FanDuel.
numberFire is always the best spot to get you ready for any UFC card. If you would rather bet on the fights, our betting guide is a great place to find value on Saturday’s card. In addition to this primer, I also dove deeper into the slate on this week’s UFC edition of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
Without further delay, let’s break down UFC 273: Volkanovski vs. The Korean Zombie, taking place from the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL on Saturday.
Alexander Volkanovski ($23): Volk is a picture-perfect MVP candidate if there ever was one. With five rounds scheduled as a -770 favorite to defeat Chan Sung Jung, there are very few paths to failure for the dominant champion. With a +3.08 striking success rate that’s absurd considering 75 minutes in the tank against Max Holloway and Brian Ortega, he’s projected to walk through “The Korean Zombie.” Volkanovski hasn’t found a finish since 2018, but this step down in competition could be an elixir for that.
Petr Yan ($21): Only a collective fight can challenge Volkanovski for daily fantasy scoring supremacy. It’s the title fight in UFC’s best fantasy division in 2021 between Yan and Aljamain Sterling ($14). These two combined for 183 significant strikes and 8 takedowns in just under 20 minutes back in 2021. That was a fight declared a Sterling win after Yan landed an illegal strike. Because Yan was trending toward a win in that bout, he’s a strong -500 favorite in the rematch, but this fight is -108 to go the distance. The answer to both sides of it in daily fantasy is “yes.”
Other High-Salared Fighters
Anthony Hernandez ($20): There are two debutants on this card, and their opponents stand out as other high-salaried compliments to Volkanovski. Anthony “Fluffy” Hernandez has three UFC finishes to his name – all over multiple-time UFC winners. It’s pretty surprising he’s just a -200 favorite over Josh Fremd. Though a well-built, athletic prospect, Fremd has zero wins over an opponent with a UFC appearance. Hernandez’s high-octane output (5.09 FanDuel points per minute) has wilted experienced foes, so the newcomer could be in trouble.
July Maple ($19): Arce’s 67% striking defense is a top-10 mark among active bantamweights with at least five fights, but one punch against Song Yadong dropped his UFC record to 5-3. He’s stepping back from Yadong, a top-10 fighter, to newcomer Daniel Santos for this one. At 4.14 significant strikes landed per minute, Arce does enough offensively to expect a decent fantasy showing as a -190 favorite. Importantly, he’s finished four of his five UFC wins from him, and that’s his truest path to a ceiling.
Others to Consider: Mike Malott ($20), Ian Garry ($20), Aleksei Oleinik ($16)
Tecia Torres ($15): “The Tiny Tornado” has been putting out some huge FanDuel scores. She’s posted 9.80 significant strikes landed per minute in her de ella’s last two fights – a knockout of Sam Hughes and a dominant decision over Angie Hill. I’m shocked she’s an underdog to Mackenzie Dern given Dern’s issues mounting offense at this level of competition. Mack’s 10% takedown accuracy is the worst in UFC history with a minimum of 8 fights and 20 attempts, and she’s always struggled striking (-1.09 striking success rate). If Dern ca n’t secure a takedown once again, flurries of punches from Tecia are coming her way from her.
Gilbert Burns ($8): The key fork in the road on this slate is accepting or rejecting Khamzat Chimaev’s wild sample. He’s been a dominant monster, but it’s come against fighters who are just 4-9 in the UFC since the start of 2020. None of them were ranked. Saturday, Chimaev steps all the way up to the second-ranked welterweight contender in the world, Gilbert Burns. Burns has twice as many wins (8) over fighters who were ranked in the top-10 of a division at some point as Chimaev has total appearances (4). At the minimum salary, Burns can absolutely win this fight, but just hanging around for 15 minutes could pay off the acquisition cost.
Others to Consider: Kay Hansen ($14), Aljamain Sterling ($14), Mark Madsen ($12), Aspen Ladd ($11)