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 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 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 46: Kattar vs. Chikadze, which will take place from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday.
Brian Kelleher ($23): On a strange week where many fights were canceled or shifted, the veteran picked up Kevin “Crash” Croom as a late-notice opponent. Kelleher’s body of work is well beyond the featherweight’s, and that has him positioned as the largest moneyline favorite (-290) on the card. Croom has just a 6% takedown accuracy and only averages 1.35 significant strikes per minute (both worst on the card), so it’s hard to see him upsetting the veteran on three days’ notice.
Brandon Royval ($19): Royval has a two-knockdown finish and a two-submission-attempt finish in four UFC starts, so he has the upside to justify an MVP spot on FanDuel. His 2-2 record isn’t stellar, but the losses have come to champion Brandon Moreno and third-ranked Alexandre Pantoja. He steps back to Rogerio Bontorin for this one, and the Brazilian has poor defensive marks striking (43% striking defense) and wrestling (51% takedown defense). Another high-upside performance could be on the docket.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Giga Chikadze ($22): Far from Giga Chikadze’s biggest fan and personally bearish on his +100 odds to finish his fight, Chikadze is still usable with five rounds slated for Saturday’s main event. Ultimately, his rate of 3.65 significant strikes per minute limits his scoring upside, but he should see a pace increase in this fight against Calvin Kattar — notably on the receiving end of the UFC record for significant strikes in a fight. His +1.07 striking success rate shows he’s got the efficiency to succeed if he gets some help in the volume department.
TJ Brown ($21): Brown will meet Charles Rosa at lightweight on just three days’ notice. Rosa is brave to step in with minimal prep time considering he’s ceded more than 10 minutes in control time in three of his last five fights, and Brown can wrestle (4.07 takedowns per 15 minutes). Rosa’s inability (or unwillingness) to get back to his feet could limit Brown’s scoring upside, but he could also find an early finish from such a dominant position. He’s not the best MVP candidate but is definitely worthy of flex consideration.
Others to Consider: Jake Collier ($16), Court McGee ($16)
Calvin Kattar ($14): While many will roll with Giga, also using Kattar at this small salary is an interesting way to get different. Kattar absorbed the record amount of strikes in a fight and never even stumbled, so he’s as tough as they come to hang around for all 25 minutes. Kattar (5.07 significant strikes per minute) has a significant pace advantage and could potentially steal rounds from Chikadze just on activity. With knockdowns in four of his nine UFC fights, Kattar’s power shouldn’t be discounted, either.
Bill Algeo ($13): “Señor Perfecto” has been a fantasy-point machine in his limited career. Algeo has never failed to hit 70 significant strikes in four UFC appearances despite getting taken down at least three times in every fight. In short, there have been points to be had on both sides of his bouts. Algeo (and his +1.50 striking success rate) draws newcomer Joanderson Brito with a significant gap in experience and level of competition. Ultimately, I believe the high-paced veteran pulls the upset as a clear target in the value tier.
Others to Consider: Chase Sherman ($15), Jamie Pickett ($13), Dakota Bush ($10)