Fight Study (4/10/21)
The UFC’s middleweight division takes center stage as the #10 contender, Kevin Holland, takes on the #6 contender, Marvin Vettori, in Saturday’s Main Event. Vettori enters this fight as the overwhelming favorite and he will carry the higher salaries in DFS contests. He has been priced at $9,600 on DraftKings and at $23 on Fanduel. Holland is priced much less and can be rostered in lineups for $6,600 and $17 respectively. As the Main Event fight, this bout is scheduled for 5 rounds, however, current odds suggest this fight will not go the distance as a -165 favorite to finish before reaching the judges’ scorecards.
Holland is making a quick turnaround after fighting five rounds with Derek Brunson just three weeks prior to Saturday’s event. He lost by unanimous decision while demonstrating nearly zero ability to defend takedowns. He had been on a 5 fight win streak (all coming in 2020) entering the fight with Brunson. In fact, this will be Holland’s 7th fight in 11 months. It is uncertain whether or not this contributed to his poor performance against Brunson, but at some point this hectic pace will take a toll on any fighter. Still, the odds in this fight are drastically higher than expected. Holland is 8-2 over his last 10 fights with wins over Gerald Meerschaert, Joaquin Buckely and Darren Stewart over that span. Additionally, Holland stands 3 inches taller and has a massive 7 inch reach advantage over Vettori. It has been the betting public that has moved this line to this point as Holland opened as a much closer +188 dog.
Vettori is clearly an up and comer in this division and has poised himself to make a title run. He has already faced the division’s champ, Israel Adesanya, three years ago this month. That was Vettori’s last defeat and it came by split decision. He is 16-4-1 overall with 2 wins by KO/TKO, 9 wins by submission and 5 wins by decision. He is one of the best grapplers in the division and his submission game is at a very high level. Vettori undoubtedly took a very close look at the fight footage from Holland’s fight with Brunson. In that fight, Brunson was able to take Holland down 6 times and he was kept down for a significant portion of the fight. Vettori must look to take this fight to the mat to keep his much longer opponent from being able to execute his striking. If he can do this, he should win easily and will have the chance to get a submission finish.
I believe the odds on this fight are way out of line. Holland is way too dangerous to be this kind of underdog. He is much longer and taller than Vettori, and he has proven his ability to fight against high quality competition. Dana White identifies the value of Holland and isn’t looking to destroy his fan following by putting him against an unbeatable foe weeks after his most disappointing performance to date. Rather, the odds in this fight are a direct consequence of the public overcompensating for a poor outing three weeks ago. This was exacerbated by a public that doesn’t respect just how good of a fighter Brunson is. The opening lines are much more accurate and bettors should take a good look at Holland at this price. I think this fight has the potential to go either way, although I do agree that Vettori deserves to be the favorite. Still, the length and speed of Holland will prove a significant obstacle.
Holland’s price on DraftKings make him a good play in GPP contests. He is also a great play in cash lineups as he will have up to 25 minutes of fight time to accumulate scoring even in a loss. Conversely, Vettori’s salary is much too high on both platforms for my liking. He will need to score 125+ points to begin to bring good value to his price tag. For this reason, Holland should get higher exposure for GPP contests on DraftKings. On Fanduel, where Holland is priced above the average, things are not quite the same. Still, I believe Holland is deserving of some exposure on Fanduel as well, and Vettori is still overpriced. Vettori will make a good cash play on both platforms, but his salary is very limiting no matter the platform or format. In most cases, I would rather spend down on Yorgan De Castro who is cheaper on both platforms and has better finishing odds. I will use discretion on both fighters in this matchup, but will give the edge to Holland for his bargain price on DraftKings.