Fight Study (2/19/20)
The Main Event of UFC Fight Night 185 will feature the 4th ranked contender in the heavyweight division, Derrick Lewis, and the 2nd ranked contender, Curtis Blaydes, in what figures to be a set up fight for an eventual title shot for the winner. Blaydes is the significant favorite in this fight and he will have the higher fantasy salaries on Saturday. He is available on DraftKings for the price of $9,400 and on Fanduel for $23. Lewis is much cheaper and can be rostered for $6,800 and $17 respectively. As the Main Event, this fight is scheduled for five rounds, however, current odds make this fight a heavy -285 favorite to conclude before reaching a decision.
Lewis has won an impressive 3 consecutive fights and has won 6 of his last 8. He has the distinction of being the only UFC fighter other than the current heavyweight champ, Stipe Miocic, of beating the current number one contender in the division, Francis Ngannou. Ngannou has twice defeated Blaydes. Overall, Lewis has a record of 24-7 with 1 no contest and has 19 wins by KO/TKO, 1 win by submission and 4 wins by decision. In his last trip to the octagon, Lewis defeated Aleksei Oleinik by TKO in the second round of their fight in August of last year.
If not for Ngannou, Blaydes would be undefeated as a professional fighter. His record stands at 14-2 with ten wins by KO/TKO and 4 wins by submission. He has shown constant improvement with each fight he takes in the UFC and at age 30 he is in his fighting prime. Additionally, he has not only improved his skill set but his conditioning as well. He will be as strong as ever on Saturday and with a victory over Lewis, only Ngannou could possibly stand in the way of his first title fight. He will be a hungry and focused fighter for UFC Fight Night 185.
Blaydes has the look of the much better fighter in this matchup. He seems to have added muscle, while Lewis looked softer than ever at Friday’s weigh-ins. Still, Lewis is a scary opponent and he has the power to finish any fighter he is able to touch with his fists. The betting lines seem to suggest that Blaydes will have an easy time with Lewis, but in truth defeating Lewis will be no easy task. I expect Lewis will come out aggressively looking for a finish. In order to win on Saturday, Blaydes will have to weather the storm early. If he can do that, I expect he will be able to finish Lewis once his tank has been emptied.
In DFS contests, Lewis is definitely worth some lineups in GPP contest on DraftKings where his salary is the lowest of all fighters of this event. He is a boom or bust play who will rely on a knockout to win, but at his salary there he is definitely deserving of a measured number of lineups in tournament play. On Fanduel, however, he is priced much higher in respect to the field and his value there will be decreased significantly. Meanwhile, Blaydes is a solid play on both platforms and in all formats as a big favorite with good scoring potential. Lewis does present upset potential, however, so DFS players should exercise some discretion, but it would not surprise at all if Blaydes had one of the top fantasy scores of all fighters on Saturday.