Fight Study (4/9/22)
The featherweight title hangs in the balance as the division’s 4th ranked contender, Chan Sung Jung, challenges the current champion, Alexander Volkanovski, for the featherweight belt in Jacksonville on Saturday. Both men are coming off of victories, but it is Volkanovski who has won 20 straight who will be the prohibitive favorite in this contest. He is also the more expensive play in DFS contests. Those looking to roster him may do so for $9,500 on DraftKings and $23 on Fanduel. Jung is available for $6,700 and $13 respectively. As the Main Event and as is customary for all title fights, this matchup is scheduled for 5 rounds of fight action. This fight is currently a slight favorite to go the full 25 minutes at -125 to go the distance.
Jung has a professional record of 17-6 with 6 wins by KO/TKO, 8 wins by submission, and 3 wins by decision. He is 7-3 over his last 10 fights with his only losses over that span coming via Brian Ortega, Yair Rodriguez, and Jose Aldo. He has notable finishes over some of the best in the UFC with wins inside the distance over Dustin Poirier, Renato Moicano, and Frankie Edgar. Most recently, he rebounded from his loss to Ortega with a 5-round decision win over Dan Ige in June of last year. He has quick hands, good power, and solid grappling. He has a minimal advantage in both height and reach over the champ, but will have to defeat him decidedly if he is going to garner favor with the judges. He will be wise to utilize his kicks against Volkanovski whose only blemish to date came by a TKO loss via head kick and punches.
Volkanovski is a dominant champion with a record of 23-1 with 11 wins by KO/TKO, 3 wins by submission, and 9 wins by decision. His last 4 fights have seen him defeat Brian Ortega, Jose Aldo, and Max Holloway (twice). He is on a 20-fight win streak dating back to 2013. He has a complete game but is slightly undersized. This may open him up to head kicks, as mentioned. Still, he fights at an extremely high level in all aspects of MMA, and finding weaknesses in his skill set is an exercise in futility. Only Holloway has managed to come close to defeating him, but still, Volkanovski took the split decision win in their rematch in July of 2020. Holloway had a significant edge in height and reach, and he used his length to keep the fight so close. Jung will not have the same luxury on Saturday.
Volkanovski is the better fighter in just about every aspect inside the octagon. Still, the disparity in odds puzzles me. Jung’s speed and power cannot be overlooked, and he has a chance here. It’s just not much of a chance. Volkanovski will use the belt against Jung, as the judges have shown a proclivity toward giving the champ the benefit of the doubt in decisions. Look for Volkanovski to keep this fight upright, only looking to change levels when it suits him. I expect him to seek out a decision win in this one, and I like his chances at accomplishing just that. Jung, on the other hand, will be looking to land his big shot at some point in this fight. If he can catch Volkanovski on his heels, he will sell out completely to make the most of his chance. I expect him to show a lot of aggression early, but I don’t anticipate he will have much success against the champ.
In DFS contests, I prefer Volkanovski on both platforms and in all formats. His salary is very limiting, but I do believe he has the potential to bring value to his cost. With an average of 107.8 FPPF, he has shown his ability to score even against elite fighters. In mass multi-entry contests, I would recommend a small exposure for Jung, however. He is a finisher and a great fighter, and he has a small chance of an upset. Overall, this fight should be used with some discretion as the chances of realizing good value for both fighters are reduced by either their salary (for Volkanovski) or their chance at victory (for Jung). Allotting more lineups to Khamzat Chimaev or Ian Garry may prove a better strategy than going heavy on Volkanovski here. Jung’s bargain salary makes him playable but only minimally.
That’s all for this edition of Fight Study. Good luck with your lineups! For more advice on DFS contests for MMA, click HERE.