This week I will be exploring the two title fights of UFC 231 taking place in Toronto Saturday, December 8th.
Title fights are not guaranteed in every UFC event. Rarer still is the event that features two. Saturday night in Toronto, UFC 231 will feature not one but two title fights. Valentina Shevchenko and Joanna Jedrzejczyk will fight it out for the women’s flyweight title in the same night that Max Holloway and Brian Ortega will compete to decide the featherweight title in the Main Event. Both fights feature compelling champions and exciting contenders. This week I will explore these two title fights and offer insights for DFS contests on DraftKings.
VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO (DK $9,400) vs JOANNA JEDRZEJCZYK (DK $6,800)
Valentina Shevchenko holds the flyweight title, a weight class that has only existed for about a year. She comes from the bantamweight division where she fought at 135 lbs. Her opponent, Joanna Jedrzejczyk has come up from the strawweight division where she fought at 115 lbs. Seemingly a favorite of UFC’s Dana White, Jedrzejczyk finds herself fighting for the title ahead of top contenders Katlyn Chookagian and Jessica Eye who will also be fighting on this card. Whether or not she deserves the shot remains to be seen but moving up in weight to fight against a force like Shevchenko is a dicey proposition for the former strawweight. Jedrzejczyk has made a career of dominating strawweights with her impressive stand-up skills but she must now prove herself against the best stand-up fighter in a new weight class. She is a significant underdog and her DraftKings salary reflects this. At $6,800 she is a bargain play, but seems in over her head in this one. Valentina is bigger, stronger and has a better overall skill set. Shevchenko’s salary is a drawback, however. At $9,400 her salary demands an early finish to justify the price. She has the skills to pull it off, but a cautious exposure is justified. In MME contests look to put her in your lineups, but in a limited capacity. Jedrzejczyk’s low salary earns her way into your lineups, but in moderation.
Caveman’s recommendation: Limit Shevchenko’s exposure to 30-40% of your lineups. Jedrzejczyk can be used in the neighborhood of 10-20% of lineups due to her bargain salary.
(At the time of this writing, Valentina Shevchenko is -346 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 75.6 on Fantasy Cruncher, Joanna Jedrzejczyk is +267 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 41.26 on Fantasy Cruncher.)
MAX HOLLOWAY (DK $8,300) vs BRIAN ORTEGA (DK $7,900)
Max Holloway is the reigning featherweight champion of the UFC and has proven himself to be a dangerous opponent in the octagon. His opponent, Brian Ortega, is the ever so slight favorite, however. Ortega’s BJJ skills are on another level and he has the ability to submit fighters in a flash. He is dangerous and hungry and the oddsmakers have taken notice, but he is going to have to take the title away from Holloway and that will be no easy task. Holloway is a very dangerous puncher. Ortega must use care against Holloway or he will find himself on the wrong end of a fight stoppage. Ultimately, the question will be whether or not Holloway can fade Ortega’s potential to submit for five rounds. The longer the fight goes, the more likely the chances are of Ortega working his submission skills into a victory. Both fighters are capable of winning this fight. Both have the skills to end fight’s prematurely. They are near equals to the oddsmakers. Holloway will have the edge in a decision, but Ortega is just too dangerous to overlook in a five round fight. In MME contests, both fighters deserve exposure but Ortega’s submission potential and lower salary makes him the much better play in my opinion. These fighters can score and splitting their exposure in nearly every lineup is the play.
Caveman’s recommendation: Ortega is my best value play. Use him in 60-70% of your lineups. Holloway should also find his way into into 30-40% of your lineups.
(At the time of this writing, Max Holloway is -109 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 71.07 on Fantasy Cruncher, Brian Ortega is -115 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 72.81 on Fantasy Cruncher.)
That’s all the insights for this week. Enjoy the fights (they are going to be some good ones) and good luck with your lineups!