Fight Study – December 12, 2020
Although there are just ten fights scheduled for UFC 256, they number of great fights on the card is equal to nearly any card this year. Charles Oliveira versus Tony Ferguson is one of those great fights. These lightweights will square off in the Co-Main Event on Saturday. Ferguson is the betting favorite as well as the more expensive fighter in DFS contests. He is available for $8,600 on DraftKings and for $18 on Fanduel. Oliveira is priced less at $7,600 and $15 respectively. This bout is scheduled for three rounds, however, current odds suggest a quicker resolution as the fight is a -210 favorite to finish before the end of round three.
Oliveira is 29-8 with 1 no contest as a professional with 8 wins by KO/TKO, 19 wins by submission and 2 wins by decision. He has won seven straight finishing his opponent in each fight over that span. Oliveira rarely leaves things in the judges’ hands and has not gone the distance over the past six years. In fact, in his 38 fight career he has been to a decision only three times. At 31-years-old, Oliveira is fighting at his best ever and will be looking for his eighth straight win on Saturday. His last loss was over three years ago to Paul Felder who got the TKO win in the second round. During his current win streak he is averaging 97.1 FPPF (DraftKing scoring) and has scored 90+ points in all but one of those fights. He was the favorite in all but one of those fight, however, and he will play the role of the underdog on Saturday.
Ferguson is coming off of his first loss since May of 2012 when he lost to Justin Gaethje by fifth round TKO in May of this year. Prior to that he was on a 12 fight win streak of his own. He is 25-4 overall with 12 wins by KO/TKO, 8 wins by submission and 5 wins by decision. He is one of the best lightweights in the history of the UFC and as the third ranked contender in the division, he is looking to compete for the belt once current champ, Khabib Nurmagomedov, officially vacates the title. To do so, he must defeat Oliveira who is the seventh ranked lightweight contender. Ferguson is as tough as they come and is one of the best strikers in the division. His submission game is very good, but he should look to avoid grappling with a fighter as skilled on ground as Oliveira is.
Given that Ferguson has both a one inch height advantage and a two and a half inch reach advantage, look for Ferguson to come out snapping jabs and kicks from distance early and often. Ferguson has some of the best cardio of any UFC fighter and he should bring relentless pressure from minute one. Oliveira may be outclassed by Ferguson’s stand up game, and he will try to take this fight to the ground where he should have a slight edge. Oliveira averages nearly one takedown per five minute round, but he will struggle to reach those numbers against Ferguson whose pressure will limit Oliveira’s offense and who has a solid 76% takedown defense rate. Additionally, Ferguson is a high level grappler who will pose a threat even if this fight goes to the mat.
This fight promises to be action packed from the opening bell. It figures to be high scoring and the winner of this fight is likely to score well in DFS contests. I have to give the nod to Ferguson here who will be looking to prove something after getting outdone by Gaethje his last time out. Oliveira will put up a good fight, but doesn’t have the stand up game that Ferguson does. On the ground, anything can happen, but Oliveira will struggle to bring this fight down. In multi-entry contests, both fighters deserve exposure, but I will favor Ferguson on all platforms and formats.
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 256 on December 12.
UFC 256: FIGHT #2, Oliveira vs Ferguson
For Fight Study on UFC 256: FIGHT #1, Moreno vs Figueiredo, click HERE.
For Fight Study on UFC 256: FIGHT #3, Jandiroba vs Dern, click HERE.