Fight Study (5/15/21)
Saturday’s Co-Main Event features the lightweight division’s 9th ranked contender, Beneil Dariush, against fellow lightweight and 5th ranked contender, Tony Ferguson, in a fight that is sure to please. Dariush is the favorite in this matchup and he will have the bigger salaries in DFS contests. He is priced at $8,600 on DraftKing and at $21 on Fanduel. Ferguson can be entered into lineups for $7,600 and $13 respectively. This fight is set for three rounds, and the current betting odds point toward a decision result as a -150 favorite to go the distance.
Dariush is on a very impressive 6 fight win streak going back to November of 2018 with 4 finishes over that span. He has an overall record of 20-4-1 with 5 wins by KO/TKO, 8 wins by submission and 7 wins by decision. He has a balanced attack and is capable of very good striking and grappling. He will give up an inch in height as well as a heavy 4.5 inches in reach, but he is fighting at his best right now. He did narrowly win his last time out with a split decision victory over Diego Ferreira in February of this year. He will now face a true UFC great in Ferguson.
Ferguson is coming off of back to back losses to Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira, the numbers 2 and 3 ranked contenders in the lightweight division. He had won a dozen straight going into those losses. He is 25-5 overall with 12 wins by KO/TKO, 8 wins by submission and 5 wins by decision. He is perhaps past his prime, but he is far from washed up. If he is able to defeat Dariush it will prove that he is still a legitimate contender in a division with a vacant champion, but his time to make a final title run is limited. His reach advantage will go a long way toward making this possible.
Ferguson figures to come out with urgency in this contest. He does not want to drop 3 consecutive fights and will feel the pressure to chase a finish. That will be no easy task against a quality fighter in his prime. Dariush figures to be the patient one in this contest and I expect him to try to change levels with regularity. Over his past 6 fights, Dariush has secured 14 takedowns in just 52:21 of fight time for an average of 1.33 takedowns per 5 minutes in the octagon. Ferguson does not want to wrestle with Dariush and must remain upright to have success. If he can stay upright for the vast majority of this fight, his chances are good for an upset.
I am not ready to close the book on Ferguson and I believe this fight will be highly competitive. He is still capable of scoring a KO/TKO in this one and unless Dariush is able to execute takedowns successfully I like him to win. For this reason, Ferguson should get decent exposure in GPP contest. Dariush should get some exposure in GPP contest as well, but I will give slightly more to Ferguson due to his much lower salaries. Ferguson is also my preferred play of the two in cash lineups. I think both fighters have good chances in this one, but Ferguson’s salary makes him the more enticing play here.
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 262 on May 15.
UFC 262: FIGHT #2, Dariush vs Ferguson
For Fight Study on UFC 262: FIGHT #1, Chandler vs Oliveira, click HERE.
For Fight Study on UFC 262: FIGHT #3, Araujo vs Chookagian, click HERE.