UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: Fight Night 12/5/20

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 has 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 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 first sports to return with compliance of social distancing, UFC daily fantasy is now live on FanDuel.

numberFire is always your best place to prepare for the upcoming UFC card. To dive deeper into this week's card, also make sure to check out my thoughts on this week's UFC edition of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.

With those tools at our disposal, let's break down UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs. Vettori, which will take place on Saturday night from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas.

MVP Considerations

Marvin Vettori ($21): A third replacement in the main event may still have something to say about deciding the outcome. Marvin Vettori steps in on late notice to face Jack Hermansson in the five-round main event, and as the only man who was able to defeat current champion Israel Adesanya on a judge's scorecard, he is a tough matchup for just about any middleweight. Vettori produces a pedestrian 3.57 FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses, but his defense is what makes his floor rock solid. His 80% takedown defense is eighth best in the history of the division, and his 67% striking defense is best among active ranked middleweights, as well. With the two extra rounds in which to accumulate volume, Vettori has more scoring upside than what you might think when first looking at his resume, which contains six decision outcomes in eight UFC bouts.

Ilia Topuria ($20): Topuria and Youssef Zalal were pitted in a prospect showcase at featherweight in October, and Topuria stole the entire show. He had 5 takedowns, 5 submission attempts, and 8:02 of control time, handing Zalal a lopsided first UFC loss. He now faces Damon Jackson in an unexpected featherweight matchup after Jackson upset heavy favorite Mirsad Bektic in September. Jackson tried 7 submission attempts in that fight, which makes this a grappling battle, and considering Jackson ceded 9:26 of control time to Bektic before a miracle submission, Topuria certainly has proved more at the UFC level thus far in terms of controlling his opponent. That explains Topuria's third best odds to win outright (-260) and inside the full distance (+105) on the entire card, per FanDuel Sportsbook.

Other High-Salaried Fighters

Jimmy Flick ($18): The top-ranked unaffiliated flyweight in the country surrenders that status to join UFC on Saturday, and he takes on former bantamweight Cody Durden in what figures to be another affair spent mostly on the ground. Flick's appearance on Dana White's Contender Series was next-level dominant, putting up 9:46 of control time and 7 submission attempts -- through seamless transitions -- on Nate Smith. Smith was hanging on for his life, but he was far from Flick's first victim, as "The Brick" has 13 of his 15 pro wins by submission. At an affordable salary, he has the second-best odds (-120) to finish his fight early.

Roman Dolidze ($16): Dolidze's first UFC appearance was somewhat of a given, as he was one of four consecutive fighters who have totally embarrassed Khadis Ibragimov, who is now cut from the UFC. His second bout should be much more competitive, as John Allan won his UFC debut in July 2019 over "Slo" Mike Rodriguez and has been on the shelf since due to a drug suspension. Rodriguez is a poor grappler, but Allan may be best served to not test the former Ukrainian jiu-jitsu champion on the ground. That base jump-started Dolidze's MMA career, which has resulted in seven finishes in seven fights to start. At Dolidze's mid-range salary, it is somewhat surprising to see him with the card's best odds to win inside the full distance (-130). That will create enormous popularity in DFS -- but justifiably so with the per-dollar upside.

Value Fighters

Montana De La Rosa ($11): The low-salary options are brutal -- as they have been on smaller cards in recent weeks -- but there is still a method to squeeze blood from a proverbial turnip. Two fighters, despite being heavy underdogs, are at least expected to see all 15 minutes -- creating a floor for volume on FanDuel. The first is De La Rosa against prospect Talia Santos. De La Rosa is coming back as a +194 underdog because of perceived athletic advantages for the Brazilian. Competition level, however, is a crucial component of mixed martial arts, and De La Rosa has a significant advantage. Her lifetime opponents are 21-18-1 in the UFC, and the past foes of the inexperienced Santos boast only a 4-8 record. That type of gap makes it difficult to compare film, statistics, and records. There could be value not only in that apples-to-oranges comparison but also in that De La Rosa is expected to hang around the full distance, as this fight is a heavy -230 favorite to see its entire duration.

Nate Landwehr ($8): One thing that Landwehr definitely can boast is being down to scrap. He took Darren Elkins to a Fight of the Night caliber fight that saw a combined 239 significant strikes landed in his first UFC win. He enters his next bout as the largest underdog on this card for his clash against Movsar Evloev, who is a talented former bantamweight expected to contend near a UFC belt at some point. However, oddsmakers are giving Landwehr plenty of credit to at least see the judges' scorecards as a sizable +368 underdog, as this fight is a -186 favorite to see all 15 minutes. Evloev's career high in significant strikes is just 79, and this is theoretically his largest and toughest opponent yet, which makes him a lower-ceiling option at $23. But Landwehr can still pay off his small salary in a competitive decision loss.

Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.