UFC 261 – April 24, 2021: Jessica Andrade vs Valentina Shevchenko

Fight Study (4/24/21)


In the first of three title fights on the evening, the number 1 ranked contender, Jessica Andrade, takes on the reigning champion, Valentina Shevchenko, for the flyweight belt. Both fighters are coming off of wins, but with 6 consecutive wins for Shevchenko, the champion is a heavy favorite in this matchup. She will also have the much higher salaries in DFS contests on Saturday. She is priced at $9,500 on DraftKings and $22 on Fanduel. Andrade is available for $6,700 and $15 respectively. This fight is a title fight and will be set for 5 rounds of fight action, however, this fight is a -140 favorite to conclude before going the full 25 minutes.

Andrade is a former strawweight champion and will be fighting Shevchenko in just her second fight in the flyweight division. She has an overall record of 21-8 with 8 wins by KO/TKO, 7 wins by submission and 6 wins by decision. She was easily the strongest strawweight in that division, but at flyweight she may not have the same level of dominance in the heavier division. Still, she is one of the hardest hitting fighters in all of women’s divisions. Unfortunately, she gives up a lot of length to Shevchenko who is very skilled at taking advantage of this discrepancy. Andrade is 4 inches shorter and will give up 5 inches in reach to the champion. Regardless, Andrade may find herself more at home in flyweight division and may bring even more power at 125 lb.

Shevchenko is 20-3 as a professional and outside of her two losses to the UFC’s GOAT, Amanda Nunes, she has lost only once in a fight dating back more than a decade ago. It was her ability to go toe to toe with Nunes that shows she is able to contend with Andrade’s power. She went the distance with Nunes twice who has more power than any other female fighter in the UFC and stands 7 inches taller than Andrade and has 7 more inches in reach as well. Shevchenko is a dominant champion in the flyweight division and will not be overwhelmed by Andrade’s power by any means. Although she never defeated Nunes, she is the only fighter over the past 6 years who has been able to give Nunes a real fight.

The real question on this fight is how long will Andrade be able to survive. Shevchenko is much faster, more technical fighter and she has literally no holes in her game. Andrade is giving up a great deal of length and will be hard pressed to even touch Shevchenko. Shevchenko will consistently touch her up from distance and will tear her down with low kicks until she eventually breaks. Andrade is not the most skilled striker, and has relied primarily on her brute strength to overpower the strawweight division. Against both Rose Namajunas and Weili Zhang, she was exposed for her lack of technical ability. As long as Shevchenko doesn’t make a major mistake, I don’t see this one going her way.

Shevchenko is a near lock to win this fight, but her salary is the real issue here. At her nosebleed salary, she will have to put up a very big number to bring any value to that price tag. With five rounds to work with, it is certainly possible that she can put up a big score, but spending down on Kamaru Usman or Dwight Grant may be a cheaper way to get even more points. For this reason, I am looking to use her minimally in DFS contests on Saturday. Her salary is quite limiting and even in cash lineups, she will make it difficult to fill out a lineup with more quality plays. Andrade may be worth a few lineups due primarily to her extremely low salary and 25 minutes of potential scoring even in a loss. Use a lot of caution when playing this fight, however, as the scoring may not keep up with the cost of doing business.

For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 261 on April 24.


UFC 261: FIGHT #3, Andrade vs Shevchenko

For Fight Study on UFC 261: FIGHT #2, Namajunas vs Weili, click HERE.

For Fight Study on UFC 261: FIGHT #4, Weidman vs Hall, click HERE.

 

About Rob

Since getting out of the casino business, Rob has been playing DFS regularly with a focus on MMA and the NFL. He now lives in Denver, CO.

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