Fight Study (9/18/21)
The UFC’s light heavyweight division steps into the spotlight as the 11th ranked contender, Ryan Spann, takes on the 6th ranked contender, Anthony Smith, in Las Vegas on Saturday. Both fighters are coming off of wins, and Smith is the favorite in this matchup. He will carry the higher DFS salaries on Saturday, and he can be rostered for $9,100 on DraftKings and $21 on Fanduel. Spann is priced less at $7,100 and $16 respectively. As the Main Event, this fight is scheduled for 5 rounds, however, this fight is not projected to go the distance as a -290 favorite to conclude prior to reaching the judges’ scorecards.
Spann has a professional record of 19-6 with 5 wins by KO/TKO, 11 wins by submission, and 3 wins by decision. Over his last 10 fights he is 9-1 with 7 finishes over that span. He is capable of finishing opponents with his striking as well as with his submission skills having 3 submissions and 4 KO/TKO’S over his last 10 fights. He stands 1-inch taller than his opponent and has a 3-inch reach advantage as well. In 2020, he lost his first fight since 2017 to Johnny Walker by first round KO, but rebounded by earning a first-round TKO victory over Misha Cirkunov in March of this year. That fight last just 71 seconds.
Smith has a record of 35-16 with 19 wins by KO/TKO, 14 wins by submission, and 2 wins by decision. He is one of the most experienced fighters in the UFC and this will be his 7th Main Event since joining the UFC. He lost 3 of 4 fights between March 2019 and August 2020, but has since responded with consecutive first round finishes of Devin Clark and Jimmy Crute. He is a BJJ black belt (Spann is a blue belt) and is fully capable of defeating opponents on his feet and on the ground.
Spann is a very exciting fighter with good striking and the ability to submit opponents while standing with one of the best guillotine chokes in the UFC. He is the taller fighter and will have the advantage in reach over Smith. Still, Smith’s experience in big fights, in 5-round contests, and his clear advantage in grappling make it hard for me to pick against him. Spann’s standing guillotine is a real threat against any fighter, but it is also a submission that Smith can avoid. Although an upset is very possible, I believe Smith wins this one rather easily on Saturday.
In DFS contests, the disparity in salary between these two fighters on DraftKings make both very playable in GPP contests on that platform. On Fanduel, the gap in salary is more narrow and I absolutely prefer Smith there. Ultimately, I like Smith to win rather easily and prefer him on both platforms and in all formats. Spann is a live underdog, however, and in GPP contests he deserves some exposure especially on DraftKings where his risk is minimized by his well below-average salary. Given that this fight is a -146 favorite to finish under 2.5 rounds, I suggest giving this fight heavy exposure.
That’s all for this edition of Fight Study. Good luck with your lineups! For more advice on DFS contests for MMA, click HERE.