Fight Study – November 21, 2020
Paul Craig will face one of the UFC’s all-time greats, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, in a light heavyweight bout on Saturday. Craig has the favor with the oddsmakers and will be the more expensive DFS play. He is available on DraftKings for $8,500 and on Fanduel for $18. Rua will go for $7,700 and $13 respectively. These light heavyweights are scheduled for three rounds but the fight is a narrow -125 favorite to finish before reaching the final bell.
Craig is the submission expert in this matchup and will be looking to take this fight to the mat as soon as possible. He is 13-4 as a professional with 1 win by KO/TKO and 12 wins by submission. He has only been to a decision once in his career and lost. His path to victory is clear every time he enters the octagon. He has a dozen submission victories and has been submitted himself just once. He will not want to strike with Rua who is still retains his power as he nears the end of his career. If this fight does go to the ground, Craig will have his best opportunity to win and to finish Rua on Saturday.
Rua is 27-11 over his career with 21 wins by KO/TKO, 1 win by submission and 5 wins by decision. He is 5-1-1 over his last 7 fights with his only loss during that span coming from Anthony Smith and his only career draw coming in his first fight with Craig one year ago. He has fought nearly every light heavyweight contender over the past decade and a half and is still a threat every time he steps into the octagon. With age, however, he has come to rely more on the judges with 4 of his last 7 fights going the distance. With only one submission victory in his career, he clearly does not want to grapple with Craig. If he can remain upright, however, his chances are much better.
For this reason, look for Rua to keep his distance and avoid Craig’s grasp at all costs. Rua has the power advantage although Craig’s striking has improved quite a bit over the past couple of years. Still, both fighters realize that the one who executes his game plan will likely win this one. If the fight goes to the ground with time to complete submissions, Craig will be at an advantage. If the fight is played out on their feet, Rua will have the advantage. Craig’s ability to transition this fight to the ground is the biggest factor of all. In their first fight, Craig was only able to takedown Rua once. He must improve upon that to have a good chance in the rematch.
In DFS contests, this fight has the potential to be a dud. With both fighters having opposing strategies, the opportunities to score are reduced. However, both fighters are capable of getting finishes and this fight should be represented minimally in GPP contests. I do like Craig in cash lineups on Fanduel where submission attempts are rewarded. I believe he has the much better chance at winning but his ceiling isn’t as high as I’d like for GPP play. Overall, this fight may be one to fade, however, as their first fight would indicate with both fighters combining for just 54.0 fantasy points (DraftKings scoring – 77.6 combined fantasy points on Fanduel).
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 255 on November 21.
UFC 255: FIGHT #5, Craig vs Rua
For Fight Study on UFC 255: FIGHT #4, Calvillo vs Chookagian, click HERE.
For Fight Study on UFC 255: FIGHT #6, Royval vs Moreno, click HERE.