Fight Study (3/27/21)
Alonzo Menifield has drawn the LFA’s light heavyweight champion, Fabio Cherant, after his original opponent was pulled from UFC 260 due to COVID-19 protocols. These fighters are on opposite trajectories with Menifield on a 2 fight slide while Cherant has won 3 straight. Still, Menifield is the heavy favorite in this fight and he will carry the higher fantasy salaries. He is priced at $8,100 on DraftKings and at $22 on Fanduel. Cherant is priced at $7,000 and $9 respectively. This fight is scheduled for 3 rounds, however, at -300 to end before reaching the final bell, the oddsmakers don’t anticipate this fight will go the distance.
With only a few days notice for this fight, Cherant was unable to make weight, weighing in a half pound over the 206 lb. maximum for a non-title fight in the light heavyweight division. This does not mean he is out of shape, however, as he fought as recently as six weeks ago when he won the LFA title in February. He is 7-1 overall with 5 wins by submission and 2 wins by decision in his brief career. Still, in just an 8 fight career, he managed to work his way up the LFA ranks to become champ. He has five finishes to date and 4 of those came in the first round. Although he doesn’t have the power of his opponent, he is a competent striker, but his real skill set is his submissions. His best chance against the power of Menifield will be to take this fight to the ground where he can work his accomplished ground game.
Menifield has struggled of late and has lost his last two fights after winning his first 9 professional fights. He has a career record of 9-2 with 8 of those wins coming by KO/TKO and 1 win by submission. He has 7 first round finishes including his first two in the UFC. On the Contender Series, he needed just 8 seconds to get a victory and his shot at UFC glory. He went on to score a first round win in his UFC debut and followed that up with his biggest win to date – a first round KO of Paul Craig. Since, he has lost to both Devin Clark and Ovince St. Preux. His lack of cardio was exposed in the Clark fight and the game plan to defeat him was revealed. In his 9 victories to date, Menifield has never gone past the first minute of the second round.
Cherant’s game plan is a simple one. He must survive past the first minute of the second round. Menifield comes out strong and he will wear himself out if he is unable to get a finish quickly. Until he reaches that point, however, he is one of the most dangerous fighters in the division. Look for Menifield to come out quickly and seek a finish in the first round. If Cherant survives the first round, Menifield will come out firing in the second, but has shown that he will run out of steam beyond the first half of the second round. If this fight goes into the 8th minute, I will expect Cherant to score the upset. This is no easy task, but it does present a path to victory for the UFC newcomer. Additionally, Cherant is a submission specialist, and if he is able to take this fight to the ground he may be capable of submitting Menifield.
Menifield’s price on DraftKings is at the average and for a fighter who is -165 to win inside the distance, this is a huge opportunity in DFS. This was a result of his salary being set before his opponent was dismissed. His Fanduel price, however, is second to only Sean O’Malley, and his value there is much less. His ownership on DraftKings figures to be extremely high, and that may present an interesting opportunity to fade him and hope to leverage the field if he underperforms. Given that Cherant is champion with excellent submission skills, the path for an upset is clearly there. Additionally, the book on how to beat Menifield has been revealed and if Cherant can extend this fight, he will have the opportunity to go to work once Menifield depletes his tank. For this reason, I like Cherant as both a GPP play and a cash play with a small risk given his low salary. I am not projecting an upset, but I do believe it is possible. I think Menifield deserves a good number of GPP lineups (especially at his price on DraftKings), but I do believe he is very vulnerable and will give Cherant his share of exposure.
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 260 on March 27.
UFC 260: FIGHT #6, Cherant vs Menifield
For Fight Study on UFC 260: FIGHT #5, Worthy vs Mullarkey, click HERE.
For Fight Study on UFC 260: FIGHT #7, Nurmagomedov vs Gooden, click HERE.