Fight Study (2/13/21)
UFC 258’s main card is full of great matchups and the fight between the middleweight division’s 15th ranked contender, Ian Heinisch, and the division’s 9th ranked contender, Kelvin Gastelum, is no exception. Despite coming in on a 3 fight skid, Gastelum is the betting favorite and more expensive play in DFS contests on Saturday. Gastelum is priced at $8,800 on DraftKings and at $20 on Fanduel. Heinisch is available for $7,400 and $11 respectively. This fight is scheduled for three rounds of fight action and is a significant -225 favorite to go the distance.
Heinisch is 14-3 overall with 5 wins by KO/TKO, 2 wins by submission and 7 wins by decision. He is 3-2 in the UFC with his most recent fight resulting in a first round TKO of Gerald Meerschaert in June of 2020. This division is loaded with talent and his losses to Derek Brunson and Omari Akhmedov came at the hands of high level competition. There are no breaks at this level, however, and in order to keep a winning record he must defeat another high level opponent. If he is able to pull that off, he will prove that he is a true contender in this division and worthy of a move up in the rankings. This is no small task, however, and the betting lines certainly discourage his chances.
Gastelum has struggled of late losing his last three fights. These losses were to elite fighters, however, including the current champ, Israel Adesanya, as well as Darren Till and Jack Hermansson. Gastelum is 15-6 with 1 no contest overall with 6 wins by KO/TKO, 4 wins by submission and 5 wins by decision. He is 10-6 with 1 no contest in the UFC but has only 4 wins over his last 10 fights. It will be interesting to see how he will look on Saturday given that his last victory came by split decision nearly 3 years ago. It seems to me as if his stock is inflated and he needs to prove something to the MMA world if he truly wants to be considered as a title contender. The last time he eclipsed the century mark in fantasy scoring was in 2017 against an aging Michael Bisping in his final UFC fight before retiring.
Although Gastelum is a significant favorite, his recent track record and unimpressive fantasy scoring give me pause. He is not yet 30 years old, so he is not past his prime, but he seems to have lost the swagger he once brought into the octagon. Perhaps making his UFC debut at the tender age of 21 is beginning to take it’s toll on him. Though only 29-years-old, he has already fought 22 professional fights. I honestly don’t know exactly what to expect from Gastelum on Saturday, but given the fact that he has only two wins in over four years I am admittedly not expecting very much. Heinisch, on the other hand, is a fighter who is starting to come into his own. These two fighters appear to be on entirely opposite trajectories coming into this fight.
As always, when there are this many questions about a fight, I tend to prefer the cheaper fighter. There is no reason for me to have high expectations for Gastelum here and I believe his odds to win are greatly exaggerated. For this reason, I am much more inclined to roster Heinisch on all platforms and in all formats. He is priced well and has respectable scoring potential for a fighter at his salary. He is in the bottom six in salary on both platforms and carries a solid fantasy average of 65.10 FPPF on DraftKings and 81.60 FPPF on Fanduel. I believe he is a good value in both GPP contests and in cash contests. I like his chances at an upset and will give him decent exposure in multi-entry contests. As for Gastelum, I will only give him minimal exposure in 150-max contests.
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 258 on February 13.
UFC 258: FIGHT #3, Heinisch vs Gastelum
For Fight Study on UFC 258: FIGHT #2, Grasso vs Barber, click HERE.
For Fight Study on UFC 258: FIGHT #5, Marquez vs Pitolo, click HERE.