Fight Study (8/7/21)
The heavyweight division will be on display when the division’s 3rd ranked contender, Ciryl Gane, faces the 2nd ranked contender, Derrick Lewis, in an interim title fight from Houston on Saturday. The winner of this fight is poised to take on the heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, in a true heavyweight title fight (Dana White seems to believe there is a need for an interim title in the meantime) in the near future. Gane is the heavy favorite in this fight, and he will carry the larger salaries in DFS contests. He is priced at $9,400 on DraftKings and $23 on Fanduel. Lewis can be rostered for $6,800 and $17 respectively. As the Main Event and as a title fight, this bout is scheduled for 5 rounds of MMA action. However, current odds suggest an earlier conclusion as the fight is a -200 favorite to conclude before reaching a decision.
Gane is undefeated as a mixed-martial artist with a career record of 9-0. He fought in June of this year and defeated Alexander Volkov by unanimous decision. He is fully capable of winning in a variety of ways with 3 wins by KO/TKO, 3 wins by submission, and 3 wins by decision in his 9 fight career. He was also an elite kickboxer prior to entering the world of MMA. He is quick and powerful, and he is both taller and longer than his opponent on Saturday. He will likely use his 2-inch reach advantage (and 1-inch height advantage) to keep this fight at distance whenever possible. With 6 consecutive wins to begin his UFC career, he has no need to impress anyone with a finish on Saturday. A technical approach to this fight will likely earn him a fight with the heavyweight champ, Ngannou.
Lewis is also on an impressive win streak with 4 consecutive wins coming into this fight. In February of this year, he finished Curtis Blaydes by second-round KO. He has a career record of 25-7 with 20 wins by KO/TKO, 1 win by submission, and 4 wins by decision. He has one-punch knockout power and will be looking to finish Gane. He has the distinction of being one of just two UFC fighters to have ever defeated Ngannou. Despite being a significant underdog in this fight, Lewis is never out of any fight given his ability to finish opponents with a single punch. He will be looking to implement that power and score the upset over Gane.
The look of this fight is rather simple to project. Gane will be the technician, looking to score points on the judges’ scorecards. Lewis will be headhunting, looking to bring this fight to an early conclusion. What is more difficult to project is the outcome. Gane is the superior fighter in most categories, but Lewis’ power makes him a threat until the final bell. Still, the longer this fight goes on, the greater Gane’s chances at a win become. Lewis will go strong for 2-3 rounds, but if he cannot score the finish by then his odds will drop dramatically.
On DraftKings, Lewis may be the superior play as he can bring a lot of value to his minimal salary if he were to get the upset. Gane, on the other hand, will struggle to bring value to his price tag on either platform. For this reason, I prefer Gane as a cash play. In GPP contests on DraftKings, I will give Lewis greater exposure due to his knockout power with little risk at his bargain salary. On Fanduel, he won’t play as well given that his salary there is above the average (compared to DraftKings where he has the lowest salary of all fighters). This fight should be an entertaining one, but in DFS contests, it is one to use cautiously. Gane doesn’t have the scoring potential I like for a fighter with his price tag, and Lewis doesn’t have the winning potential to use him with much confidence. Play this fight with discretion on Saturday.
That’s all for this edition of Fight Study. For more advice on DFS contests for MMA, click HERE.