Finally, I got the headlining act of an MMA event right. I don’t know why, but I have had a ton of success with MMA DFS picks in general, but when it comes to predicting the final fight, I keep going with the underdog.
Last week, I fought my inner DFS demons and rolled with Cory Sandhagen. As it turns out, life is pretty good when you don’t bet against the favorite.
I am certain there will again come a time and a place where picking the underdog of a main event will make sense (maybe this week again?), but I was thrilled to be on the right side of that fight.
That wasn’t my only good play, either. My final MMA DFS lineup didn’t win all of the money, but I did vouch for Chris Daukaus and Tom Aspinall in last week’s MMA DFS picks.
My other daily fantasy MMA picks weren’t quite as good, with Impa Kasanganay being on the receiving end of one of the best UFC knockouts of all-time.
It’s onward and upward as a massive fight card drops into our laps this weekend. The return of The Korean Zombie is on tap, as Chan Sung will battle Brian Ortega in a huge headlining bout.
Deciding this fight could end up being key to your MMA DFS lineups for UFC Fight Night, while it’s also a highly-anticipated Octagon battle you’ll want to bet on.
I don’t know if he’s going to finish Brian Ortega, but here’s what I do know; The Korean Zombie has excellent striking, he’s excellent at defending takedowns (never been submitted), and Ortega takes on a ton of punishment.
Ortega is also a terrific striker, but his calling card is absorbing blows until he finds an opening. That can lead to a KO, but usually he just out-works his opponent and finds a weakness that leads to a submission.
I’m just not sure The Korean Zombie has a clear weakness Ortega can exploit in that fashion. Ortega did admit that no matter what happens, both of these dudes are checking into a hospital after this match.
I concur, but based on history and Sung Jung’s versatile skill-set, I think Ortega is up against it in this one. Both guys are worth rostering together, of course, as this definitely is a fight that can go the distance and still have both fighters panning out in MMA DFS.
Claudio Silva ($7.7k)
There are not as many appealing deep dives on this slate, which makes Silva my favorite MMA DFS sleeper going into the weekend.
The 38-year old will meet his end eventually in the Octagon, but I doubt it comes in this match against James Krause.
There is admittedly a lot to be worried about here, and I can definitely see why most online sportsbooks peg Silva as a mild +138 underdog. He’s far less experienced than Krause, he’s older, he has the size and reach disadvantage, he’s taking this fight on short notice, and he hasn’t fought since August of 2019.
All of that said, Silva is on fire with 14 consecutive wins. His lone career loss came back in 2007 and was due to a DQ. Krause is a very dangerous fighter that can end bouts early, as evidenced by 22 fights by stoppage (8 KOs).
I like the value with Silva, though, seeing as he’s the superior grappler. This is absolutely Krause’s fight to lose if it stays standing up, but that just isn’t going to happen.
Silva has out-worked strikers in the past, and the guy shoots for takedowns at will. One way or another, this thing is ending on the canvas, and I give the edge to Silva with a nice submission win early.
Jimmy Crute ($9k)
I like two stars with one of my top picks, slide in a high upside value, and end with another strong fighter. More often than not, if you start building MMA DFS lineups with my top three MMA DFS picks, you’ll be headed in the right direction.
Let’s test that theory as I cap things off with Crute. Initially, I was very tempted to go with his opponent, Modestas Bukauskas, just because of his striking ability and ability to end this thing early.
MMA betting websites have Bukauskas as a sizable +265 underdog, though. He has just one fight in the UFC, and from what I’ve seen, doesn’t come with a ton of energy, and just doesn’t have amazing striking.
That’s his main skill, and in one UFC bout, his takedown defense (100%) was on point. The sample size is too small, however, and I don’t think he’s versatile enough to win this fight.
Besides, Crute is sleeping in a van and is hyper-focused.
Interesting note about Aussie light heavyweight Jimmy Crute (@CruteJim) who has a big fight this Saturday on Fight Island, he sleeps in a van in the gym parking lot during every fight camp. Lives in there with his dog. Says it helps him focus.
Crute is the better overall fighter, he’s a bigger threat if this fight gets to the ground, and he’s statistically the much more efficient hitter. I just see more paths for a win for Crute, who is admittedly on a faster track to stardom and doesn’t seem like an easy kill for a KO-hunter like Bukauskas.
If you need more advice beyond these three picks, take a look at our MMA DFS tips for trying to take down a GPP.
UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. The Korean Zombie DFS Lineup
Chan Sung Jung ($8.6k)
Claudio Silva ($7.7k)
Jimmy Crute ($9k)
Thomas Almeida ($8.2k)
Guram Kutateladze ($7.3k)
Maxim Grishin ($9.1k)
I’ve already touched on The Korean Zombie, Silva, and Crute. I think they’re all fantastic plays, and even if they don’t get the early finishes they’re capable of, they should still be able to grind out wins.
You can add Thomas Almeida, Guram Kutateladze, and Maxim Grishin to your player pool, too. MMA can go in either direction so easily, but Almeida and Grishin are both favored to win, and I think they have good matchups they can exploit.
Almeida hasn’t fought since 2018, and he’s just 1-3 in his last four fights. However, those losses came against good competition, and the time off should do him good. He’s just such an explosive striker with early finishing ability, and I can’t get away from him at this price.
Grishin is an even bigger favorite. You don’t want to just load up on favorites for the sake of doing so, but he has 15 career KOs and he’s coming back down a weight class after losing in the heavyweight division.
His power is going to translate better in this matchup with Gadzhimurad Antigulov, who has been KO’d four times and prefers the fight to be on the ground.
The last fighter I want is Kutateladze, as he’s unfairly a huge underdog (+250) against Mateusz Gamrot. Both of these guys are making their UFC debuts and Gamrot has never lost, but Guram is coming in a lot fresher, has won eight straight bouts, and has KO upside.
You can see that here.
He’s got a really tough matchup against a patient and lethal fighter, but Guram defends well, and rotates a lot of heavy punches and nasty kicks. This fight is honestly a bit of a toss-up, and could end up being a fight where the guys just exchange blows.
If it goes that route, I love Guram as a nice high-upside upset play.
For MMA betting circles, he’s pretty appealing as an underdog play, too. And really, you can go for it with any of my underdog plays, as they offer the upside in both avenues.
Whatever you do, hopefully, my daily fantasy MMA picks serve you well. Good luck with your MMA DFS 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.