Fight Study (3/27/21)
The UFC’s welterweight division pits Russian fighter, Abubakar Nurmagomedov, against Atlanta’s, Jared Gordon, at the Apex facility in Las Vegas. These two fighters were both unsuccessful in their most recent fights and they will look to get back to their winning ways on Saturday. Nurmagomedov is the prohibitive favorite in this matchup and he will carry the higher salaries in DFS contests. He is available for $9,000 on DraftKings and can be rostered on Fanduel for $20. Gooden will cost a good deal less and can be inserted into lineups for $7,200 and $10 respectively. This fight has been scheduled for three rounds and current odds make it a -155 favorite to reach the judges’ scorecards.
In his UFC debut, Nurmagomedov (cousin of now retired and former champ, Khabib Nurmagomedov) was submitted in the first round of his fight with David Zawada. He has a solid record of 15-3-1 as a professional with 6 wins by KO/TKO, 4 wins by submission and 5 wins by decision. However, over his last 4 fights he is just 1-2-1 and he is still looking for his first win in the octagon. He is a former sambo champion and his wrestling skills are very high level. His kickboxing, on the other hand, is not at the UFC level. In order to prove he really belong in the UFC, he will have to get a win against Gooden on Saturday. To do so, he must execute takedowns as he should be at a disadvantage on his feet. He gives up an inch in height to his opponent as well as five inches in reach.
Gooden is also fighting for the second time in the UFC and he also lost in his debut. In November, he lost a unanimous decision to Alan Jouban. Overall, his record stands at 17-5 with 7 wins by KO/TKO, 6 wins by submission and 4 wins by decision. If he intends to keep himself in this fight, Gooden will need to lean on his superior reach. Once inside the distance, Nurmagomedov is able to take fighters down with relative ease and he keeps them down. If Gooden is able to fend off Nurmagomedov’s takedowns, he should have success on Saturday. In his fight against Jouban, he was able to remain competitive with his striking tallying averages of 70 strikes thrown per round and landing 33.3 significant strikes per round. He was able to defend against Jouban’s one and only takedown attempt in that fight, but defending takedowns from Nurmagomedov is an entirely different matter.
The game plan for both fighters is crystal clear. Gooden must keep this fight upright and Nurmagomedov must take the fight to the ground. Key to Nurmagomedov’s success will be his ability to keep Gooden guessing while on their feet. By feinting and mixing in kicks, he can keep Gooden off balance until the takedown opportunity presents itself. Gooden will need to effectively counter Nurmagomedov’s striking and throw strikes and knees up the middle to challenge Nurmagomedov’s takedown attempts. The fighter who is able to execute their game plan should find victory in this one. Still, Nurmagomedov is a sambo champion and defending against his level of takedowns is much easier said than done. Although Gooden’s ground game is solid, it is not an easy thing to get back up once a fighter with Nurmagomedov’s skill set gets you on the ground.
In DFS contests, this fight has the potential to be very low scoring. These opposing styles have the potential to bog down the fight and prevent much from happening. At Nurmagomedov’s salary, it will be difficult for him to bring value to his price tag. For this reason, I would prefer him in cash lineups as his ceiling is much too low to make him a great GPP play. There is some potential for a TKO for him, however, I don’t expect a finish from Nurmagomedov but rather methodical control over the bulk of the 15 minute fight time. For this reason, Gooden may be the preferred play in these contests as his low salary makes him less of a risk and requires less scoring to bring value. Still, his chances in this fight are slim and he should be limited to a small number of lineups in 150-max contests. DFS players will be wise to use this fight sparingly.
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 260 on March 27.
UFC 260: FIGHT #7, Nurmagomedov vs Gooden
For Fight Study on UFC 260: FIGHT #6, Cherant vs Menifield, click HERE.
For Fight Study on UFC 260: FIGHT #8, Oleksiejczuk vs Bukauskas, click HERE.