Last week was a day for the favorites. I handed out some MMA DFS picks for UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic, and I hit on several good plays.
I did swing for the fences in my final MMA DFS lineup, of course, with Christian Aguilera failing horribly, and Ion Cutelaba’s fight being canceled.
The rest of my daily fantasy MMA picks were hits, however, as Aleksandar Rakic, Neil Magny, Ricardo Lamas, and Alexa Grasso all scored wins. Hey, if you weren’t with me on Aguilera and pivoted away from the Cutelaba cancellation, perhaps you even won big!
That’s the goal each week, and it doesn’t change with UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Sakai approaching this weekend. For that, here are my favorite MMA DFS picks, including the safest plays and a couple of MMA DFS sleepers.
Augusto Sakai ($7.4k)
I’m not even going to list Alistair Overeem here. That isn’t to say he can’t win, because he can.
Overeem is one of the nastiest fighters the UFC has ever seen, and when you look at his insane 46 wins (!!) and 24 KOs, you have to stop and realize what the guy is capable of.
But everyone knows Overeem and his upside.
They also should fear his downside, as he still has 18 defeats in his storied career, with a whopping 14 coming by knockout. The guy can finish anyone, but he has a soft chin and is extremely vulnerable to being taken out at any time.
That’s where Sakai comes in. He doesn’t really look the part, but he’s a nasty striker, he’s big, and he’s very tough. Just look at what he did to Marcin Tybura.
His 15-1 record is pretty sparkling coming in (4-0 in UFC, won six straight), while he has never been finished in a fight.
Overeem could change that, but it seems like the betting public is overlooking Sakai’s toughness and ability to finish. If this fight drags on, I’d probably favor Overeem, but you need to hunt for the right upsets and this is a pretty good spot to bet on Sakai.
Andre Muniz ($7.6k)
Another MMA DFS sleeper pick could be Muniz, who is a fine pivot away from Sakai if you’re not with me there, or they could just be paired together.
Muniz is 19-4 for his career and is coming off of a Decision win over Antonio Arroyo. He’s in very good form, having won each of his last five fights. Those wins have come in a variety of ways, too, as he’s displayed his skill-set and versatility with wins via decision, submission, and KO.
We’ve seen Muniz go down before, as he did get knocked out back in 2016, but the guy has otherwise been on fire, winning 13 of his last 14 bouts. He looks like a solid bet against Bartosz Fabinski, who is the smaller fighter and has shorter reach.
Fabinski is plenty dangerous and will enter as the favorite, but most of his fights lately have gone the distance. If Muniz can keep himself out of trouble, I think his size and reach give him a chance to get an early finish.
Karol Rosa ($8.5k)
Back to the favorites, we go! You will certainly need to nail some underdogs at this weekend’s UFC event, but you also want to target the right favorites.
I think Rosa is one of them. She comes in with a strong 13-3 record, has never been knocked out, and has won four straight matches. She faces Sijara Banks, who is just 5-4, and largely grinds out fights and hopes for the Decision.
Rosa has the versatile skill-set to end this one early on the ground or with her hands, but she appears to have the edge, no matter how this one plays out. She’s been crushing it with her striking, and it’s translated to 103 and 126 fantasy points in her first two UFC bouts.
In other words, her striking has been on point.
Karol Rosa's 291 significant strikes landed are the most ever landed by a UFC fighter through their first two bouts in the octagon.#UFCVegas9
She should honestly be more expensive based on her likelihood of win and her production, but I’ll take the value and run.
My MMA DFS Lineup for UFC Fight Night 176
Augusto Sakai ($7.4k)
Karol Rosa ($8.5k)
Andre Muniz ($7.6k)
Hunter Azure ($9.1k)
Thiago Moises ($9k)
Michel Pereira ($8.2k)
I am very aware of how risky Sakai is. But hey, you’re talking to the guy who picked the cheapest dude in the player pool to stage a massive upset last week.
Last week saw no major upsets, but I think things change going into UFC Fight Night 176. That’s especially true when you note Sakai’s power against Overeem’s soft chin.
Obviously you can pair the two in the event it goes the full five rounds, or you can fade Sakai and bet hard on Overeem. For this MMA DFS lineup, I choose to fade Overeem and hope Sakai knocks him out.
That alone should differentiate me plenty, but I’ll also pay down for Muniz. He doesn’t have an easy opponent, but he’s a gifted fighter who possesses size and reach advantages. I like his chances, and I particularly like the value.
You will need some MMA DFS sleepers for your rosters, but you’ll also want some pricey options that make sense. One of them is Rosa, who is the superior fighter in her matchup. She doesn’t have amazing upside, but I think she’s a safe play that gets us a win.
Next up is Azure, who had a nice 8-0 start interrupted by a KO defeat in his last fight. He’s facing a ho-hum fighter in Cole Smith, who is also coming off of a loss. Something has to break here, so I’ll put my trust in Azure, who is the more dynamic fighter and historically inflicts much more damage.
I’ll also roster Thiago Moises. He is giving up major size and reach to Jalin Turner, and it’s quite arguable Turner offers more athleticism and upside. Moises proved we shouldn’t doubt him too much, though, as he delivered a shocking upset win over Michael Johnson in his last fight.
I’m not saying Moises is super safe, but he is not a guy who is going to back down for a challenge, and even when he’s getting whooped, he clearly is eyeing the angle to turn things around.
Moises is a pretty disciplined fighter that times his spots well, and he’s never been finished. If this is either going the distance or Moises is going to sneak in a submission, I tend to like his chances to pay off.
Lastly, we have Pereira, who has regressed lately with two straight losses, but has 23 wins for his career. He’s a pretty versatile fighter, as he’s recorded 16 finishes (10 KOs) in his career, and can clearly win in a variety of ways.
That probably gives him the edge he needs, as he knows Imadaev (100% of wins by KO), is really just seeking one win route. It’s a narrow edge, but I prefer Pereira’s versatility and experience here.
This is not a risk-free MMA DFS lineup, but these MMA DFS picks should serve you well, even if you don’t use this exact roster. Good luck with your lineups, and enjoy the fights!
Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.
When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.