Fight Study (1/23/21)
UFC 257’s main card will feature a middleweight bout between Makhmud Muradov and Andrew Sanchez. Both fighters are coming off of victories but with 13 straight wins, Muradov is red hot coming into Saturday’s fight. He will be the favorite over Sanchez as well as the pricier play in DFS contests. He will be available for $8,600 on DraftKings and $17 on Fanduel. Sanchez is priced at $7,600 and $13 respectively. This fight is scheduled for three rounds and current odds make it a slight -125 favorite to reach the judges’ scorecards.
Muradov has a career record of 24-6 and is currently riding an extremely impressive streak of 13 wins coming into Saturday’s fight. Of his 24 wins to date, he has 16 wins by KO/TKO, 3 wins by submission and 5 wins by decision. Over his last five fights he has 4 wins by KO/TKO, including two in the first round. He has a perfect 2-0 record in the UFC with wins over Trevor Smith and Alessio Di Chirico. He did not fight in 2020, however, and his momentum coming into this fight may have cooled a bit. Still, he is a dangerous fighter who consistently finishes fights and he will be looking to do so again against Sanchez. Current odds make him +200 to finish Sanchez. He will have both a one inch height advantage and a one and a half inch reach advantage on Saturday.
Sanchez is 12-5 as a professional with 6 wins by KO/TKO, 2 wins by submission and 4 wins by decision. He has a longer history in the UFC than Muradov and is 5-3 inside the octagon. His last time out he knocked out Wellington Turman at the 4:14 mark of the first round. He has won 3 of his last 4 fights with his only loss over that span coming from Marvin Vettori by unanimous decision. He is a former RFA champion and was a two time collegiate wrestling champion at McKendree University. He will need to utilize his wrestling if he wants to get the best of Muradov. Although he made his UFC debut at light heavyweight, he has fought his last seven fights as a middleweight going 4-3 in the division.
Muradov has a 100% takedown defense rate thus far in the UFC. Sanchez must change that if he has any chance at scoring an upset here. The longer this fight plays out on their feet, the better Muradov’s chances are. In 3 of his 5 career losses, Sanchez suffered defeat by KO/TKO. His striking is not nearly on Muradov’s level and a stand-up fight will not earn him a win here. However, if this fight is played out on the ground, his chances of winning rise dramatically. Muradov will do his best to keep this fight at distance where he can assert his edge as a striker and in reach. Sanchez will have virtually no chance at winning this fight if it remains upright. If, however, he is able to execute takedowns early in rounds, Sanchez could easily upset Muradov.
In DFS contests, Muradov is the much better play in GPP contests due primarily to his higher ceiling. In cash lineups, however, Sanchez plays fairly well. In his three UFC losses he has scored 60+ points (DraftKings scoring) in two of them. Only in his loss to Vettori did he fail to score. In fact, outside of that fight, Sanchez is averaging over 80 FPPF. Given his well below average price on both platforms, he makes a fairly decent play for cash lineups based on his track record. For my money, I will use Muradov with moderation in tournament play and I will give Sanchez play in cash lineups only. I don’t expect fireworks from either fighter, but if there is a finish in this one it figures to be from Muradov.
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 257 on January 23.
UFC 257: FIGHT #4, Muradov vs Sanchez
For Fight Study on UFC 257: FIGHT #3, Calderwood vs Eye, click HERE.
For Fight Study on UFC 257: FIGHT #5, Ribas vs Rodriguez, click HERE.