UFC 266 – September 25, 2021: Brian Ortega vs Alexander Volkanovski

Fight Study (9/25/21)


The UFC’s featherweight division title will be on the line as the division’s 2nd ranked contender, Brian Ortega, faces the current champ, Alexander Volkanovski, for the 145 lb. belt. Both men were successful in their latest trips to the octagon, but with a 19-fight win streak, Volkanovski is the favorite in this bout. He is the more expensive fantasy play as well. He can be rostered for $8,600 on DraftKings and $20 on Fanduel. Ortega is available for $7,600 and $16 respectively. As a title fight, this one is scheduled for 5 rounds of MMA action, but current odds favor a shorter fight as it is a -122 favorite to end before the final bell.

Ortega has a professional record of 15-1 and 1 no contest with his only career loss coming from Max Holloway back in late 2018. He has 3 wins by KO/TKO, 7 wins by submission, and 5 wins by decision. His jiu-jitsu is very high level (he has a black belt from the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy), and in 9 UFC fights, he has 3 submissions to his credit. His first UFC fight was also a submission finish for Ortega, but that was ruled a no-contest or his submission count would stand at 4. Ortega’s striking has improved, however, during his time with the UFC, and his first-round KO of Frankie Edgar proves he is a threat on his feet as well as on the mat. He stands 2 inches taller than Volkanovski but gives up 2.5 inches in reach.

Volkanovski is 22-1 as a professional with his only loss dating back to 2013. Since then he has risen meteorically with 19 straight victories leading into this title fight. He is coming off of back-to-back defeats of the former champ, Max Holloway, and he will be looking to maintain his grasp on the featherweight title with a win over Ortega. He has strong wrestling to pair with top-notch striking – making him a formidable opponent for any fighter. He is a jiu-jitsu brown belt but will rely largely on keeping this fight upright as he would be at a severe disadvantage against Ortega’s jiu-jitsu. On their feet, he should have a strong advantage over his opponent.

In an upright contest, Volkanovski has a clear advantage. On the ground, the tables turn in Ortega’s favor. This fight is going to be one of contrasting styles, however, both men are very capable on all levels. Ortega will be doing whatever possible to bring this fight to the ground, and his ability to do so early in rounds will determine his chances in this fight. If he is unable to secure takedowns with time to work his submission game, his chances are slim. Give him a minute or two on the ground to chase a submission, his chances are very good. Ultimately, every round starts upright and I believe the champ has the edge in this fight.

On DraftKings, both fighters are priced lower in relation to their competition in DFS salary making their values on that platform better than on Fanduel. Still, with 5 rounds available to accumulate scoring, both Ortega and Volkanovski have high ceilings regardless of the platform. Also, given the disparity in their salaries, they both have similar values. In multi-entry contests, on either platform, both men are worthy of exposure. I do tend to like Volkanovski’s chances more and believe he has the higher scoring potential as well. Therefore, I would give the champ the majority of the exposure in this fight. Overall, I would be looking to use this fight in 50-60% of lineups with around a 70/30 split in favor of Volkanovski.

That’s all for this edition of Fight Study. Good luck with your lineups! For more advice on DFS contests for MMA, 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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