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 Vegas 51: Luque vs. Muhammad 2, taking place from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday.
Drakkar Klose ($23): As a -650 favorite, Klose is the most comfortable projected winner on the board. It’s largely matchup-based. Brandon Jenkins (-3.09 striking success rate) was blitzed by Rong Zhu in his UFC debut, and Zhu’s -2.11 striking success rate including that fight has him on a trajectory to get cut. Klose has fought quality competition to a 5-2 record with the UFC, and this step back in competition could be an apology from the UFC for a fiasco that led to a year on the sidelines for him. He’s got the weakest opponent of his career seeking his first UFC finish.
Mayra Bueno Silva ($21): Bueno Silva makes her debut at bantamweight this weekend after a nice run in the women’s flyweight mix. Amazingly, with just a -43 striking differential, she gave Manon Fiorot her toughest test on the feet when she’s primarily a grappling ace. Even with the size advantage, Yanan Wu will have a difficult time giving Bueno Silva a run for her money from her. Yanan is 1-3 in UFC, and her opponents of her are 3-10 in all fights not facing her. Yanan’s last gasp will have to be knocking off the talented Bueno Silva, who stands as a hefty -500 favorite.
Other High-Salared Fighters
Mounir Lazzez ($19): There is risk with Lazzez. He has just a 44% striking defense, and that led to a knockout loss against veteran Warlley Alves last time out. However, against newcomer Ange Loosa, this fight appears to be his to … loosa. Sorry, I had to. Lazzez is a -205 favorite, but unlike Klose, Bueno Silva, and Pat Sabatini ($22) at the top of the fighter pool, Lazzez actually has a record of scoring fantasy points. At 4.78 FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses, Lazzes leads all fighters in historical offensive pace. In a friendly matchup, he’s an MVP consideration, too.
Miguel Baeza ($18): The Miami prospect suffered two shocking defeats as a favorite to end 2021, but he’s in a spot to bounce back here. Andre Fialho is a one-dimensional striker that offered zero leg kicks in his UFC debut against Michel Pereira. Generally speaking, that type of style will get swallowed whole by an aggressive striker like “Caramel Thunder”. Baeza’s -0.11 striking success rate comes with a solid ground game (1.90 submission attempts per 15 minutes), and importantly, he should have his way with Fialho’s card-worst -4.13 rate.
Others to Consider: Pat Sabatini ($22), Kevin Croom ($17), Trey Ogden ($16), Belal Muhammad ($16)
Caio Borralho ($14): The co-main event features two debutants off of Dana White’s Contender Series, and backing Borralho is a statement on sample size. Borrahlo, like opponent Gadzhi Omargadzhiev, exits the series averaging over 3.75 FanDuel points per minute. However, between the two fights, Borralho’s sample is over 16 minutes long, and Omargadzhiev’s was less than 5. Borralho also did this against Aaron Jeffery, a foe with a win over a UFC fighter (TJ Brown). Omargadzhiev’s opponents have zero collective UFC appearances, so it’s easy to back the underdog with a more useful measuring stick.
Sam Hughes ($10): I called Hughes the New York Jets of UFC last fall. It was the meanest thing anyone’s ever said about a fighter. Regardless, even Zach Wilson and the guys run into a win once in a while. In reality, Hughes has never stepped foot in the octagon as shorter than a +335′ dog. She’s been horribly outmatched, but she’s got a real chance this week. Three of her six pro wins de ella have come via submission, but she’s only been able to mount one takedown attempt on stronger foes. Istela Nunes’ takedown defense is just 28%, so Hughes can absolutely get this fight to the ground.
Another reason to back Hughes? UFC’s four women’s divisions saw more underdogs win than a single men’s division in 2021. This is the spot to take a flier on a week without much quality value.
Others to Consider: Jesse Ronson ($15), William Knight ($13), Chris Barnett ($10)