Fight Study (3/27/21)
In the first light heavyweight bout of UFC 260, Michal Oleksiejczuk will meet up with Modestas Bukauskas in the UFC’s 205 lb. division. Both fighters are trying to right the ship after losses and Oleksiejczuk will play the part of the betting favorite. As the favorite, he will carry the higher DFS salaries with a price tag of $8,500 on DraftKings and $17 on Fanduel. Bukauskas comes in much cheaper at $7,700 and $12 respectively. This fight is scheduled for three rounds, however, current odds suggest an earlier conclusion as the fight is a -215 favorite to end before reaching a decision.
Oleksiejczuk has a career record of 14-4 with 1 no contest. He has 10 wins by KO/TKO, 1 win by submission and 3 wins by decision in those 14 victories. He has 7 first round finishes to account for half of his wins, but has struggled of late with two consecutive losses coming into Saturday’s fight. He had a great start to his UFC career with a decision win over Khalil Rountree in his debut followed by two first round KO/TKO wins. However, his fight with Rountree was overturned and ruled a no contest after he failed a drug test and he went on to lose his next two fights in the octagon. Both of those losses came by submission and his UFC record stands at 2-2 with 1 no contest. Still, he is a dangerous fighter with power in his fists. His grappling, however, leaves much to be desired.
Bukauskas also present powerful striking but on a much longer frame. He is 11-3 overall with 8 wins by KO/TKO, 2 wins by submission and 1 win by decision. He has 6 first round finishes to date. After a first round TKO of Andreas Michailidis in his UFC debut, he went on to be finished by Jimmy Crute at 2:01 of the first round in his second trip to the octagon for a UFC record of 1-1 in his brief history with the promotion. He will have a 3 inch height advantage and a significant 4 inch reach advantage over Oleksiejczuk on Saturday. He will need to use his length to keep his heavy hitting opponent at a distance if he hopes to find a win in this fight. Prior to losing to Crute in his last fight in February of 2020, he had gone undefeated (11-0-1) in his previous 12 fights including two wins by submission over that span. This could be key as both of Oleksiejczuk’s UFC losses were by submission.
This fight is currently a -155 favorite to end before the start of the third round. These two light heavyweights are powerful hitters who rarely need the judges to decide their fates. If Bukauskas is able to, he will do his best to keep this fight at a distance where Oleksiejczuk’s power cannot touch him. If, however, Oleksiejczuk is able to penetrate Bukauskas’ range, this fight will come to a finish quickly. Inside Bukauskas’ distance, this fight will turn into an all-out brawl that has the potential to end in a KO/TKO for either man. A first round KO/TKO should not surprise anyone. It will be interesting to see if Bukauskas tries to make this a grappling contest as he likely will have the edge on the ground. However, both men are strikers first, and that is not a game plan I would expect to see him implement.
I make this fight a near pick ’em and do not see Oleksiejczuk as a clear favorite. For this reason, Bukauskas is going to get decent exposure for my money due to his ability to get a big score at a bargain price. He is one of my favorite underdog plays on Saturday and I expect he will get heavy ownership from DFS players. Both fighters are boom or bust plays and will make much better GPP plays than cash as their floors have the potential to be very, very low. I recommend playing both sides of this one in 150-max contests quite a bit as the winner of this contests stands to put up a very good fantasy score. If forced to choose between the two, I think Oleksiejczuk has the better knockout potential, but only minimally and the disparity in salary makes Bukauskas the better value.
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 260 on March 27.
UFC 260: FIGHT #8, Oleksiejczuk vs Bukauskas
For Fight Study on UFC 260: FIGHT #7, Nurmagomedov vs Gooden, click HERE.
For Fight Study on UFC 260: FIGHT #9, Morales vs Young, click HERE.