UFC 261 – April 24, 2021: Jorge Masvidal vs Kamaru Usman

Fight Study (4/24/21)

In a rematch of their July 2020 fight the 4th ranked contender in the division, Jorge Masvidal, and current champion, Kamaru Usman, will square off again for the welterweight title. Usman is the heavy favorite in this fight and will carry the larger salaries in DFS contests. He is available for $9,400 on DraftKings and for $23 on Fanduel. Masvidal is priced at $6,800 and $16 respectively. This fight is a title fight and has been scheduled for 5 rounds. Current odds make this contest a -170 favorite to go the distance.

Masvidal is a longtime fight veteran with a record of 35-14 with 16 wins by KO/TKO, 2 wins by submission and 17 wins by decision. His last fight was the first iteration of this matchup with Usman in which he lost soundly and by unanimous decision. Prior to that fight he was on a very impressive 3 fight win streak with wins over Nate Diaz, Ben Askren and Darren Till with each win coming by way of KO/TKO. If given the chance, he can strike with any fighter in the division. Unfortunately, a champion of Usman’s abilities doesn’t offer his opponents the chance to fight a clean stand up contest. If Masvidal hopes to have a different outcome this time, he will need to figure a way to avoid Usman’s grasp and remain upright this time.

Usman is a dominating champion with a record of 18-1 with 8 wins by KO/TKO, 1 win by submission and 9 wins by decision. After losing his second career fight, he has gone undefeated since, stringing together a 17 fight win streak leading into Saturday’s fight. He overpowers his opponents and uses smothering wrestling and crushing ground and pound to render his opponents helpless. He did this in his first fight with Masvidal and figures to implement the same strategy again. He is simply too good at what he does for his opponents to contend with it.

This fight figures to be a lot like the first. Clearly, Masvidal has been working at his wrestling and takedown defense. He looked visibly better conditioned at Friday’s weigh in. Still, there is little chance he will be able to alter things this time around. That’s why Usman is the second biggest favorite of any fighter of UFC 261. He is such a threat to takedown his opponents that even a high-level striker like Masvidal is unable to execute his game plan against him. He is very well conditioned and he brings relentless pressure into the octagon.

For those looking to forecast this fight, look no further than Masvidal/Usman 1. In that fight, Usman landed 94 significant strikes and executed 5 takedowns while completely shutting down Masvidal. On the other hand, Masvidal was limited to 66 significant strikes over 25 minutes for an average of 2.64 significant strikes per minute. Masvidal successfully defended 11 takedown attempts, but that left little time for him to do anything else. Additionally, Masvidal spent the bulk of his time on his feet pinned against the cage, rendered powerless by the champ. I fully anticipate a repeat of this on Saturday and will avoid rostering Masvidal again. Usman will carry a very high salary and therefore cannot be guaranteed to deliver a lot of value at his price, but he is worth measured exposure in GPP contests and makes a very reliable cash play as well.

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

UFC 261: FIGHT #1, Masvidal vs Usman

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