Fight Study – June 3, 2020
Less than a month after his upset of Hunter Azure, Brian Kelleher returns to the octagon to face Cody Stamann in a featherweight fight. Stamann will be the significant favorite, despite moving up from bantamweight to face the longtime UFC pro, Kelleher, at 145 lb. In his last time out, Stamann finished with a draw against Song Yadong after Yadong was penalized a point for a knee to the head of a downed opponent. He will carry the third highest salary on DraftKings ($9,100) and the fourth highest on Fanduel ($20), while Kelleher once again plays the role of the underdog. Kelleher is the third lowest salary on Both DraftKings and Fanduel ($7,100 and $12 respectively). The fight is currently a -210 favorite to go the distance.
I am somewhat surprised to see this much disparity in odds, especially after Kelleher defeated Azure on May 13 by second round KO as a +174 underdog. Kelleher deserves more respect, considering that the fight is at 145 lb. with his last training camp less than four weeks away. He is the more experienced fighter and definitely the more experienced featherweight. He is coming off two consecutive finishes with wins over Azure and over Ode Osbourne by first round submission, both wins coming in 2020. In 21 career victories, Kelleher has seventeen finishes, eight by KO/TKO and nine by submission. He has only been knocked out once, but has lost ten fights overall with six losses by submission and four losses by decision. Despite being one inch shorter, he has a 1.5 inch reach advantage over Cody Stamann.
Stamann is 4-1-1 in the UFC and has an impressive career record of 18-2-1. All of his UFC victories to date were won by decision, but prior to entering the UFC, he does have six KO/TKO wins and two wins via submission. He is a good wrestler with amateur boxing experience. Perhaps at featherweight, he will add power along with the extra weight he will be wearing on Saturday, but it seems that so far, his power is not up to snuff against UFC competition. He is, however, a high volume striker who can mix in takedowns for fantasy scoring. He is 10-1 in fights that go the distance, and the oddsmakers expect him to win by decision in this one. He is one of the highest salaried fighters for DFS contests on Saturday despite having the 11th highest average at 73.3 FPPF (DraftKings scoring).
This fight should be a quality matchup, one much closer than the odds would indicate. Kelleher is a very well rounded fighter, and lands significant strikes at a 23.2 per (five minute) round, which is slightly more than Stamann’s 21.3 per round. Stamann does score a great deal more takedowns, however, at a rate of 1.19 per round. This is where he should be able to limit Kelleher’s striking, but he will need to be careful as Kelleher is a very capable grappler with two submissions in eight fights inside the octagon. Stamann’s best scenario is one where he is able to control Kelleher on the mat, making him defend his ground and pound, while limiting Kelleher’s opportunity to attempt submissions. Kelleher on the other hand, must go to the mat on his own terms, and look to use his demonstrated knockout power (he has two wins by KO/TKO in his eight fights against UFC competition) while fighting on his feet.
Stamann may be the favorite to win, but for DFS contests, Kelleher is the much better play. At his low salary, he has significant upside as the experienced 145 lb. fighter with a 50% finishing rate as a UFC featherweight. Stamann, on the other hand, needs to deliver a big score at his salary. He has only done so once in his career, scoring 135.0 points against Terrion Ware in July of 2017. In that fight, he scored 8 takedowns, 6 advances and landed 94 significant strikes. He cannot expect to have anywhere near this level of success against an established veteran like Kelleher. Outside of this dominant performance, his best score was 89.0 points (all other scores never even reached 80 points). Stamann may be worthy of some cash play, but has given no indication of being able to deliver high scoring while fighting at a new weight. Kelleher should get a fair bit of exposure in multi-entry contests due to his upside at a bargain price.
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 250 on June 6. In the meantime, please keep safe and healthy!
UFC 250: FIGHT #8, Kelleher vs Stamann
For Fight Study on UFC 250: FIGHT #7, Meerschaert vs Heinisch, click HERE.
For Fight Study on UFC 250: FIGHT #9, Pitolo vs Byrd, click HERE.