Fight Study (2/13/21)
UFC 258 brings more fight action as the welterweight division takes center stage for a bout between Dhiego Lima and the division’s 13th ranked contender, Belal Muhammad. Both fighters are in the midst of winning streaks, but the oddsmakers have cast Muhammad as the biggest favorite of the event and with that comes the much higher DFS price tag on Saturday. Muhammad is priced at $9,200 on DraftKings and at $22 on Fanduel. Lima is priced drastically less at $7,000 and $8 respectively. This fight is set for three rounds and current betting odds make this one a -195 favorite to go the full fifteen minutes.
Lima is 15-7 as a professional fighter with 4 wins by KO/TKO, 4 wins by submission and 7 wins by decision. Despite losing his first two fights in the UFC, Lima has bounced back winning his next three and he now has a record of 3-2 inside the octagon. He did not fight at all in 2020 and this fight will be his first in more than 16 months. This layoff may have slowed his momentum, however, and if Lima is to extend his win streak, he will need to utilize his 3 inch height advantage as well as his 3 inches in reach. During his win streak, each of his opponents stood below 6’0″ in height, and his last loss was to Yushin Okami who stands at 6’2″. It would seem that if Lima is to pull of the big upset, it likely will require that he leverage his longer frame.
Muhammad is also on a three fight win streak and his last fight resulted in a win by decision over Lyman Good in June of last year. He has a career record of 17-3 with 4 wins by KO/TKO, 1 win by submission and 12 wins by decision. He has only been finished once in his career and that was at the hands of Vicente Luque over 4 years ago. In the UFC, Muhammad is 8-3 and he has won 7 of his last 8. At the age of 32 he is in his fighting prime and as a ranked contender he will need to keep winning to get a shot at the welterweight title. His style is clearly a winning one, but it doesn’t necessarily equate to high scoring. In his last 7 victories, he has scored no more than 85.5 fantasy points (DraftKings scoring). He has been extremely consistent over that span, however, as his lowest fantasy total in a win over that span was 81.5 fantasy points (DraftKings).
Given the betting lines, it is reasonable to assume that this fight is Muhammad’s to lose. Lima does fare well against shorter fighters, but he has yet to get a win against a fighter at Muhammad’s level. This fight presents no significant challenges for Muhammad as he has had success against taller fighters with recent wins over Good (6’0″) and Curtis Millender (6’3″) over his past three fights. Look for him to control the pace of this fight and to penetrate Lima’s reach without much difficulty. He will pressure Lima back against the fence, working from the clinch and changing levels to keep Lima off balance. Lima should look to touch Muhammad from distance, but this is much easier said than done against a fighter of Muhammad’s caliber.
Expect Muhammad to fight his fight as usual on Saturday. He is a technician in the octagon and he figures to be good for 80+ points again with a win by decision. This won’t bring good value to his price tag and he is not worth much play in GPP contests. Although he should get a small number of lineup in 150-max contests, he is a much better cash play due to his consistency with a solid floor and high win probability. Lima should get a pass in most formats, but a small number of lineups in GPP contests may be worth the risk given his super low salary. Anything is possible in combat sports, but I wouldn’t count on anything here. Muhammad should continue his win streak and improve his contender status in the division.
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 258 on February 13.
UFC 258: FIGHT #7, Lima vs Muhammad
For Fight Study on UFC 258: FIGHT #6, Hernandez vs Vieira, click HERE.
For Fight Study on UFC 258: FIGHT #8, Martin vs Viana, click HERE.