Welcome to my DFS breakdown for UFC Vegas 43: Vieira vs. Tate! The UFC is back in Las Vegas at their Apex facility this weekend for a 12-fight card. Recently the UFC has been putting on some events with a ton of fights (15) and others with an underwhelming offering (10). However, this week we are back to “normal” with 12 fights scheduled. That means there is no need to focus solely on the ceiling or floor for each play, it’s more trying to balance a combination in our lineups while paying attention to ownership percentages. I’ll be in the FTNDaily Discord leading up to Saturday's slate to discuss last-minute changes and additional general slate strategy!
If you’re interested in DFS and betting takes for every fight on this card, you can check out The Undisputed MMA Show with Jon Kelly and me.
In this weekly article, I will outline three fighters who present strong floors and ceilings for your DraftKings lineups.
High-tier: Adrian Yanez $9100
This is an interesting slate on DraftKings because there are no options that stand out as “must-plays,” and I doubt I will have too many lineups that feature multiple fighters above $9000. Last weekend I recommended trying to jam in both Max Holloway and Felicia Spencer at expensive price tags and then bargain-hunt for the rest of your lineup, but this weekend appears to be more friendly toward balanced lineup building. However, we do have the salary to spend, and Yanez appears to be the best option on the slate. The slick counter striker has gotten off to an impressive start in the UFC going 3-0 with three knockouts. He gets another winnable matchup this weekend against veteran Davey Grant. Yanez is currently a -300 favorite and the fight is favored to end inside the distance. Grant has some power himself and may mix in some takedowns against Yanez, but the English fighter has been knocked down in three of his last five fights, and I expect that trend to continue this weekend.
Mid-tier: Natan Levy $8500
This is more of an off-the-board pick this weekend with a stacked mid-tier of fighters to choose from on DraftKings. Levy makes his UFC debut this weekend following a win on the Contender Series, and objectively speaking, he’s overpriced on DraftKings at a $8500 price tag compared to his betting line of +100. However, I’ve gone back and watched a decent amount of tape on Levy and have come to the conclusion that he’s an inexperienced fighter with some defensive striking flaws. But if he’s able to rack up wins at the UFC level he’s going to be a great DFS weapon. He is a strong jiu-jitsu practitioner with a wide array of takedowns and the ability to string together takedown attempts for a full 15 minutes. His matchup against Rafa Garcia isn’t a cakewalk, as Garcia is a decent grappler in his own right, but I’m not sure he has the power on the feet to expose Levy’s poor defense. Terrance McKinney is another strong option in this range, as he’s a fighter who prioritizes early finishes, and Rani Yahya at 8K seems underpriced for a guy who when he wins it comes through grappling. Yahya is a small favorite this week and has averaged 94 DK points in his UFC wins over a large sample.
Low-tier: Fares Ziam $7800
Unlike most weeks, I actually think there are a bunch of strong plays in the lower price range on DraftKings. The first option and the headliner for this section of the article is Ziam, who is 2-1 in the UFC and has scored 67 and 46 DK points in his two wins. Those are obviously not encouraging scores, BUT, he faces Terrance McKinney this weekend who is going to force a ton of action and has never been to the judges scorecards, having been finished three times on the regional scene prior to the UFC. Ziam/McKinney is a great fight to target, and I’ll likely be overweight on both fighters compared to the field, but Ziam is the favorite, cheaper on DK and projects for less ownership. Tucker Lutz is a strong play in this range as well in a fight that is nearly a pick-em and should feature a lot of grappling. Lastly, Michael Chiesa is $7300 on DK and that price will always get my ears perked up. Chiesa has a tough test this weekend against Sean Brady and is a moderately sized underdog, but Chiesa is one of the few volume takedown artists in the UFC and should be optimal if he can pull off the upset.