This article is part of our FanDuel MMA series.
We are back at it with another UFC card! UFC 258 features 12 bouts, which makes for plenty of opportunities to roster fighters in our DFS lineups! [maybe talk about FanDuel GPPs instead...]
If I do not mention a fighter in this article, it does not mean I am not considering them for a specific category. Still, I am putting fighters in these categories out of respect for prioritization. I will provide at least a couple of combatants for each of these categories.
Let's get into it!
FanDuel Scoring System:
Moves Scoring (MVP 1.5X)
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.9 PTS
Takedown (TD): +9 PTS
Takedown Defense (TDEF): +4.5 PTS
Submission Attempt (SA): +7.5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +18 PTS
Moves Scoring (Standard)
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.6 PTS
Takedown (TD): +6 PTS
Takedown Defense (TDEF): 3
Submission Attempt (SA): 5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +12 PTS
Fight Conclusion Bonuses (MVP 1.5X)
1st Round Win (1stW): +150 PTS
2nd Round Win (2ndW): +112.5 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rdW): +75 PTS
4th Round Win (4thW): +52.5 PTS
5th Round Win (5thW): +37.5 PTS
Decision Win (DecW): +30 PTS
Fight Conclusion Bonuses (Standard)
1st Round Win (1stW): +100 PTS
2nd Round Win (2ndW): +75 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rdW): +50 PTS
4th Round Win (4thW): +35 PTS
5th Round Win (5thW): +25 PTS
Decision Win (DecW): +20 PTS
MVP Top Plays
Rodolfo Vieira ($23)
I trust a couple of fighters at the top salary range to put up a solid DFS score. One of these fighters is Rodolfo Vieira, who is an excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. Rodolfo is one of the biggest betting favorites on the card and holds an incredible win inside the distance line. Rodolfo will have the physicality (i.e., used to compete at Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight) and grappling advantages (i.e., countless medals in medals in ADCC & IBJJF Submission Grappling). His opponent Anthony Hernandez has been taken down and gotten his back taken by grapplers inferior to Vieira in the past. Though he is not a perfect fighter (i.e., his cardio and striking are a work in progress), I trust Vieira to get another win inside the distance.
Kamaru Usman ($21)
Kamaru Usman is the other fighter I am alluding to in the above paragraph. He is the main event favorite and has five rounds to rack up a powerful DFS score if need be. I like Usman to win the matchup stylistically, as he holds many advantages over the challenger Gilbert Burns (i.e., superior clinch fighter, wrestler, striker, cardio, pace, and technique). Usman strikes at a high rate (i.e., lands 4.50 significant strikes per minute), wrestles at a high clip (i.e., landed 12 takedowns against Rafael Dos Anjos), and likely has more success as the fight progresses due to the wide cardio discrepancy here (i.e., Burns wants many pauses in his previous fights; whereas Usman is always working). Burns will be dangerous (i.e., has power in his hands and is an excellent submission grappler), but the superior round winner will likely be Usman.
Cash Game Underdogs
Gillian Robertson ($13)
Gillian has one of the better chances to win per the betting odds out of all the underdogs. Gillian's strength is grappling (i.e., BJJ Black Belt, ability to chain wrestle, intense top control pressure). Her game plan against superior striker Miranda Maverick (i.e., has a Muay Thai background, is varied, sound combinations, and countering ability) is very likely to get this fight to the ground. There is footage of Miranda struggling to defend takedowns and scramble back to her feet before coming to the UFC. One can think that will be Gillian's game plan here. I think the far more UFC experienced combatant likely takes the fight to the mat where she can either win rounds via top control and damage or get her hand raised via stoppage.
Brian Kelleher ($10)
I see Brian as a crafty veteran who can make this fight with Ricky Simon very competitive. Brian strikes at a high rate (i.e., lands 4.45 significant strikes per minute), is an opportunistic submission threat (i.e., submitted Iuri Alcantara, Ode Osbourne, and Ray Rodriguez via guillotine choke), decent wrestler (i.e., 72 percent takedown defense, double leg takedown ability) and very tough (i.e., only been finished via strikes by John "Hands of Stone" Lineker). With FanDuel's scoring system of rewarding fighters for defended takedowns and submission attempts, I consider Kelleher a cash game underdog who can score well and allow me to pay up for the fighters I am prioritizing in cash games.
Phillip Rowe ($14)
I think to target both sides of a fight in GPPs if I believe the fight's winner can score highly but unsure who wins. I am picking Green to win, but Rowe is a capable finisher, and I think that if he wins, it most likely comes via finish. Rowe has one of the better wins inside the distance betting lines out of all the underdogs on this card. He will also hold a significant length advantage over Green (i.e., 5-inches taller and 7-inch arm reach). Additionally, Rowe is a threatening striker, and Green has been finished via strikes twice professionally. During tape study, I thought Rowe was a green fighter, but the time away from the Octagon may have significantly improved his skills as a mixed martial artist.
Maki Pitolo ($11)
Maki is one of the few underdogs that have a solid chance to win their respective matchup per the betting odds. He has been significantly more active than Marquez (i.e., has fought six times since Marquez last competed in the Octagon), and this fight will likely be a brawl, which adds an extra layer of variance in an Octagon fight. Maki is aggressive, throws with power, and Julian was previously hurt (i.e., Di Chirico buckled him with a right hook to the temple), so he can reasonably get a finish here. Furthermore, his win inside the distance line is one of the best ones on the card out of the underdogs. Maki is another play that makes me uncomfortable in GPP lineups, but stepping outside my comfort zone has allowed me to win GPPs in the past.
Polyana Viana ($13)
Polyana is another underdog with a solid chance to win per the betting odds. She will also hold a length advantage over Martin (4-inch arm reach benefit) and is the more threatening striker (i.e., hard body kick). I see Martin as the more technical striker. Still, Martin has shown to be hittable (i.e., absorbs 6.04 significant strikes per minute, was rocked and nearly finished by Cifers, absorbed 112 significant strikes on DWTNCS), which allows me to believe Viana is live to win some of the striking exchanges. Though I favor Martin to win (i.e., superior wrestler and more technical striker), this fight is close enough. Viana is dangerous enough in the striking and grappling departments where I wouldn't be shocked to see an upset happen.
Already Mentioned: Gillian Robertson (TBD)
GPP Pivot Favorites
Julian Marquez ($19)
Julian is a risky option for me but one I am willing to take a chance on. Julian has not fought since July 2018, but the time off may have helped him enter his prime. Julian is an assertive and dangerous athlete who is not afraid to engage in a firefight (i.e., against Darren Stewart and Alessio Di Chirico). He has a reasonably win inside the distance line, and I think the fight may be high action (i.e., Pitolo is willing to brawl and is very hittable). Also, Marquez will have the size advantage (i.e., 4-inches taller). With not many other non-obvious options on this slate, I am eager to take some chances on Julian, given his finishing potential per the betting odds.
Gabe Green ($16)
Another GPP option that may fly under the radar is Gabe Green. A general note on ownership for PPV cards is fighters fighting very early on in the event generally do not garner near the ownership as the fighters competing on the main card due to familiarity and comfort level. With this in mind, I will take some chances on Gabe Green. I see Green as the superior fighter (i.e., is more technical, more varied, exceptional combinations, better cardio). He may be able to win this fight either inside the distance with a knockout, submission or via excessive pace.
His opponent, Phillip Rowe, will hold a significant length advantage over Green (i.e., 5-inches taller and 7-inch arm reach); however, Rowe has not shown to control range well despite being very powerful and athletic. Rowe's defensive grappling has shown to be a liability (i.e., has been taken down quickly via body lock and guard easily passed). Green has shown the willingness to pass guard when in top position in pursuit of a submission finish. I am willing to take some chances on Green at what likely will be lower ownership and the potential to put up a big DFS score for a reasonable price.
Belal Muhammad ($22)
Belal may get 80 points or so again, but there's also the potential for him to score many more. I like him a lot in this matchup as I favor him as a striker (i.e., is more durable, more varied, and fights at a much higher pace) and grappler (i.e., double leg takedown ability, takes the back of a lot of his previous opposition) who is also the more proven fighter with far superior cardio (i.e., Lima noticeably slows down as the fight progresses). Belal has not shown to be the most dangerous finisher in the UFC, but I think there's the potential he finishes Lima due to the vast skill and cardio advantages in his favor. I trust he will be less owned than many other fighters in the top tier.
GPP Fades/Fighters To Be Light On
Ricky Simon ($20)
Ricky Simon is coming off a tremendous performance, and I think that will inflate his ownership. Still, this matchup is much different, and I think he will struggle much more in this matchup with grappling against tough veteran Brian Kelleher (i.e., BJJ Brown Belt, 72% takedown defense). I can see Ricky taking Brian down, but I think it's unlikely he dominates the grappling exchanges here as he did in his previous matchup, and that's likely what we will want when rostering him at his price. As far as a pick goes, I am picking Ricky. However, just like Zalal and Johnson last week, I am not interested in rostering him over some other fighters in his pricing tier (i.e., Usman, Vieira, Muhammad).
Kelvin Gastelum ($20)
I am a bit hesitant to pick Kelvin to win this matchup. Not long ago, he was fighting Israel Adesanya for the interim title, and now he's on a three-fight losing streak with his job potentially on the line. He is the superior fighter in this matchup (i.e., excellent striker in a fight that is likely to be won or lost via striking) against a tenacious wrestler in Ian Heinisch. However, Gastelum's win inside the distance betting line, lack of willingness to offensively wrestle, and Heinisch's strong durability allow me to be light on him for DFS purposes in this matchup. I also think that with Gastelum being one of the more notable names on this card, his ownership may be high.