UFC 255 – November 21, 2020: Jennifer Maia vs Valentina Shevchenko

Fight Study – November 21, 2020

Jennifer Maia is taking her shot at the flyweight title against the current champion, Valentina Shevchenko. Shevchenko is not just the biggest favorite on the card, but she is one of the biggest favorites in recent memory. She is priced much higher in DFS contests and has a salary of $9,600 on DraftKings and $23 on Fanduel. Maia is available for dirt cheap with salaries of $6,600 and $8 respectively. This fight is a title fight and is scheduled for five rounds but current odds make this fight a significant -195 favorite to end before reaching the judges’ scorecards.

Unfortunately for Maia, she is running into a buzz saw in this matchup. Although she is the third ranked contender in the division, she has yet to go up against the likes of Shevchenko. Maia is 18-6 overall with 4 wins by KO/TKO, 5 wins by submission and 9 wins by decision. She has little hope of winning a decision against Shevchenko, however, who is a much better striker. Maia’s best chance will be on the ground where Shevchenko’s striking will be limited. This much easier said than done and the odds are indicative of how difficult this will be to accomplish against a champion of Shevchenko’s abilities.

Shevchenko is essentially a lock to win, but at her nosebleed salary, the real question is how well she will be able to bring value to her price. Since her move to flyweight she has been dominant and scored as high as 139.5 fantasy points in her win over Priscila Cachoeira in February of 2018. She is 8-2 over her last ten fights with her only losses being by decision to the greatest female fighter on the planet, Amanda Nunes. Still, her salary is very limiting and rostering her will greatly reduce the ability to put other quality fighters on the same lineup. She will need to score around 120+ points to make her a good value at her salary.

This outcome of this fight is not hard to predict and Shevchenko is appropriately a huge favorite against Maia. I expect she will finish Maia in time, but the number of significant strikes and knockdowns she accumulates will be key to making her a worthwhile play. If she finishes her too early, her ceiling may not be high enough. If she finishes in the later rounds, her conclusion bonus will be reduced. Ideally, she will need to score around 25-30 points per round in addition to her conclusion bonus to bring good value in this fight. This is a tall task and cannot be relied upon.

In DFS contests, Maia is virtually unplayable. Shevchenko should get a small number of lineups, but her salary is far too restrictive for my liking and her exposure should be capped. Over her last four fights she is averaging 90.63 FPPF (DraftKings scoring – she is averaging 91.9 FPPF on Fanduel) which is far too low for the salary she will carry on Saturday. Consider passing on Shevchenko entirely. If you are able to complete lineups with her salary, I would prefer her in cash lineups rather than GPP lineups for DFS contests. If Maia is able to accumulate scoring over five rounds, she may be worthy of cash play at her low salary, but I don’t think she can manage this and I wouldn’t recommend using her.

For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 255 on November 21.

UFC 255: FIGHT #2, Maia vs Shevchenko

For Fight Study on UFC 255: FIGHT #1, Perez vs Figueiredo, click HERE.

For Fight Study on UFC 255: FIGHT #3, Means vs Perry, click HERE.

About Rob

Since getting out of the casino business, Rob has been playing DFS regularly with a focus on MMA and the NFL. He now lives in Denver, CO.

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