Fight Study (2/13/21)
The Main Event of UFC 258 will feature a welterweight title fight between challenger, Gilbert Burns, and reigning champ, Kamaru Usman. Usman is the heavy favorite in this fight and his salaries are appropriately the higher of the two fighters on Saturday. He can be rostered for $9,000 on DraftKings and for $21 on Fanduel. Burns is going for $7,200 and $18 respectively. As a title fight, this bout is scheduled for five rounds of MMA action and it is a small -145 favorite to go the distance.
Burns is on a 6 fight win streak and has an overall record of 19-3 with 6 wins by KO/TKO, 8 wins by submission and 5 wins by decision. In his last fight, he took the former champ, Tyron Woodley, the distance in a five round Main Event last May and won by unanimous decision after thoroughly dominating the fight. Burns possesses both powerful striking and a strong submission game. He has been finished just once in his 22 fight career. He will be at a significant disadvantage in reach, giving up five inches to Usman. He also stands two inches shorter than the champion. This will make striking against Usman considerably more challenging. Grappling with a wrestler of Usman’s caliber is a virtual impossibility for most, and Burns must figure out how to successfully penetrate Usman’s range without making himself vulnerable to takedowns and the dominating ground and pound that typically follows.
Usman may be the most dominant champion in the UFC (especially with the retirement of Khabib Nurmagomedov). He manages to force his will on all comers with his unstoppable takedowns and smothering ground and pound. He is 17-1 as a professional fighter with 7 wins by KO/TKO, 1 win by submission and 9 wins by decision. He is a perfect 11-0 in the UFC and took the belt from Woodley in dominating fashion nearly two years ago. His fantasy scoring is consistently high and with five rounds to work with, his ceiling is off the charts. He executes takedowns with ease and accumulates scoring with his ground and pound. He is averaging better than 110 FPPF on both platforms and is the third biggest favorite on Saturday’s card.
Usman’s dominance is unrivaled and I believe his 16 fight win streak will continue on to 17 on Saturday. He executes takedowns with ease and once down, opponents rarely get back up before the end of a round. Burns will do his best to touch him from distance, but eventually Usman will get him in the clinch or will shoot for a takedown. Even with a very good submission game, Burns will not present much of a threat for him. Look for Burns to spend a great deal of this fight on his back or with his back up against the cage. Usman does not typically look to finish opponents, but rather looks to control them for the entirety of the fight.
In DFS contests, Usman brings big value despite having a high salary. DraftKings’ new scoring will only increase his scoring potential. Usman is both a top cash play and GPP play on Saturday. He will have 25 minutes of scoring accumulation and I don’t expect Burns will be able to do much to slow him down. He will accumulate takedowns, significant strikes and control time for five full rounds. I make him a favorite to finish with a top 3 fantasy score on Saturday. Those who are convinced they want some Burns in their life would be wise to do so on DraftKings where his salary is much lower in relation to the field than on Fanduel where his salary is above average. I, for one, will choose to pass on him entirely.
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 258 on February 13.
UFC 258: FIGHT #1, Burns vs Usman
For Fight Study on UFC 258: FIGHT #2, Grasso vs Barber, click HERE.