UFC Vegas 45: Lewis vs. Daukaus (Reposted)

We are back at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas today for a great slate of action. This is the final card of the year after a very eventful 2021 for the world leader in combat sports. This UFC card is headlined by Derrick Lewis and hot prospect Chris Daukaus in the heavyweight division.

The write-up here will provide consideration for building lineups on both FanDuel and DraftKings. It details our betting strategy for each fight and a prediction of what kind of bout we see.

When building your lineups here are a few things to consider. Pricing differs for most fighters making some better value on one site over the other. Scoring is important as well. On FanDuel a first-round finish scores 5x the points as a decision, where on DraftKings it scores 3x as many. Grappling is also scored drastically different as FanDuel awards points for submission attempts. DraftKings neglects those and instead values control time and reversals. This new year, DraftKings has also added a quick win bonus for victories in the first minute as well as scoring for non-significant strikes. Lastly, you will only want to take two fighters from the same fight if you think it goes into the late rounds and expect both to reach value. Optimal GPP builds very rarely stack the same fight but it can be a viable strategy in cash games.

Lastly, if you are in search of even more DFS content be sure to visit DailyPlayAction.com! This site is dedicated to providing expert daily fantasy coaching as well as tools to optimize your NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and PGA lineups. Check them out now if you play any FanDuel or DraftKings DFS.

Current Record

  • Anthony: 291-195-5 (Last Year 223-145-6)
  • Nick: 294-192-5 (Last Year 235-133-6)
  • GB: 277-209-5 (Last Year 216-152-6)

Fight odds are as listed from Bovada and last updated 9:00 AM EST 12-18-2021

Preliminary Card- Starts 4:00pm EST

Jordan Leavitt -130 (DK $8200, FD $16) vs Matt Sayles +110 (DK $8000, FD $16)

  • Anthony: The card opens with a fight at lightweight between Jordan Leavitt and Matt Sayles. The odds have stayed extremely close for this bout all week and rightfully so. Leavitt has been tough to truly get a read on since entering the UFC. After an impressive win on Dana White’s Contender Series, Leavitt has had a bad decision loss and a win by slam in just under 30 seconds. He does not seem capable of stringing together long or meaningful combinations, relying on his wrestling to take fights to the mat. Sayles is an equally volatile fighter with some weight issues and now two years between fights. I think ring rust plays a factor in this one as Leavitt seems the much further invested in improving his arsenal of weapons between camps. He should eventually get the takedown here and work over Sayles, but the cardio for Leavitt is just as glaring a concern as it is for his opponent. Jordan Leavitt by Round Two Submission
  • Nick: We have a low-level matchup to start off the card. Leavitt is primarily a grappler. He has a strong wrestling base and does an excellent job keeping pressure on his opponents. He trains out of an excellent camp via Syndicate MMA, but his striking is far from refined and by many he’d be considered mostly one dimensional. Matt Sayles has found most of his success as a striker. Six of his eight professional wins have come via KO. His boxing is technically sound and he’s going to be far and away the more dangerous fighter on the feet in this matchup. We haven’t seen Sayles fight since 2019, when he was dominated on the mat by a rising prospect in Bryce Mitchell. He’s moving up a weight-class here, but it’s very difficult to know what to expect from him as he’s been out of competition for so long. If Leavitt can consistently secure takedowns on Sayles here he’s going to look dominant. If he can’t, he’s going to get picked apart on the feet. The stylistic discrepancies here make this a tough one to call, but I’m siding with Leavitt. He’ll need to be careful on the entries, but I don’t see Sayles having the takedown defense to keep this standing. Jordan Leavitt by Round Two Submission
  • GB: Jordan Leavitt by Decision

Don’Tale Mayes -180 (DK $8600, FD $19) vs Josh Parisian +155 (DK $7600, FD $11)

  • Anthony: Next up is a fight at heavyweight between Josh Parisian and Don’Tale Mayes. These are two low level heavyweights and I am honestly surprised to see the betting odds so far apart. Mayes has serious knockout power but really does not warrant being favored this much over anybody. He has a mere 1-2 record in the UFC with the only win coming over Roque Martinez by decision. I understand that many are attracted to his size and reach but I think a more active Parisian can very easily take this fight if he avoids getting clipped. In my opinion Parisian puts more effort into each and every fight making him a fighter I do not mind backing here. On a card lacking many quality underdogs, I am taking a few shots on the prelims and hoping to see some get their hand raised. Parisian has more than a punchers chance here. Josh Parisian by Decision
  • Nick: This is a low-level heavyweight matchup, but both of these guys are more athletic than they look. Parisian throws a lot of spinning attacks, which is a strange thing to see from a heavyweight. These moves can be effective, but he also compromises his gas tank if he can’t put his opponents out early. Don’Tale Mayes is a powerful striker, but he’s slow and plodding and he often seems to wait for the fight to come to him. He can be explosive once he gets going, but he’s the type of fighter that needs to eat a few shots to wake up and get aggressive. In a fight that’s highly likely to take place on the feet, Mayes’ reach advantage will likely make a difference here. Parisian has power, but it’s going to be extremely difficult for him to consistently get in range to land it. I’m really not high on Mayes’ career trajectory, but this is a winnable match-up for him and I think he gets it done. I’d also like that Mayes trains out of a good camp at Jackson Wink. Don’Tale Mayes by Round Two KO
  • GB: Don’Tale Mayes by Round One KO

Raquel Pennington -155 (DK $8400, FD $17) vs Macy Chiasson +135 (DK $7800, FD $14)

  • Anthony: Here we have a women’s flyweight bout between Raquel Pennington and Macy Chiasson. This is a fight that came together on short notice and as a result, Chiasson is stepping in nearly three pounds heavy. Normally these two would be competing at bantamweight instead, so it is difficult to predict what we will see with neither cutting. Pennington is the older fighter here and much more experienced against some of the best fighters in the upper weight classes. She has a rather basic style that does tend to focus on takedowns as of late, but Pennington also carries some pop in her strikes. Chiasson is the faster, more technical striker that throws more often in extended combinations. However, Chiasson is also the more reckless fighter and a bit tough to trust stepping in on such short notice. I believe that the underdog price tag warrants a pick on Chiasson here but there are a lot of questions to be answered in a volatile matchup like this. Macy Chiasson by Decision
  • Nick: Macy Chiasson enters this fight coming off back-to-back wins. She’s a more technically advanced striker than Pennington, and while she doesn’t have much offensive grappling ability she’s shown competence on the mat against a decent range of opponents. Chiasson is most effective striking in the clinch. She carries a powerful Muay-Thai base from which she mixes in dangerous elbows. She uses her reach well, but she is most effective when she closes distance and pulls in her opponents. Pennington is likely going to be a tough match-up stylistically. She does a good job keeping consistent pressure on her opponents. Like Chiasson, she does a good job striking in close and grinding her opponents up against the cage, nullifying their offensive abilities. I think Pennington finds a way to make this one ugly as she pulls away on the scorecards. Chiasson has just a 70 percent takedown defense. Her height could make things tough on Pennington, but I do think we see this fight hit the mat. Additionally, Chiasson missed weight by 2.5 pounds – which could mean her cardio is compromised in this spot. Chiasson has a slight striking advantage here, but I see Pennington as the better fighter everywhere else. I expect an ugly and boring decision. Raquel Pennington by Decision
  • GB: Macy Chiasson by Decision

Charles Jourdain -190 (DK $8900, FD $19) vs Andre Ewell +160 (DK $7300, FD $11)

  • Anthony: This should be an interesting featherweight bout between Charles Jourdain and Andre Ewell. Ever since his draw to Josh Culibao, I have been completely off of Jourdain. I believe the prospect has been a bit overhyped and this wide betting line clearly is evidence of such. He has flashy striking and some great power for this weight class, but Jourdain is way to reckless and does a poor job conserving his energy over the course of fifteen minutes. Ewell is the type of fighter that can bring Jourdain into deep waters and test him once again. He has a significant reach advantage in this matchup and I fully expect Ewell to out volume Jourdain thanks to the strikes landed at range. He also has solid, fundamental boxing that likely keeps him ahead of Jourdain during encounters in the pocket. The real concern in this spot will be Ewell’s durability and whether or not he can take a few of Jourdain’s best shots. I will be taking a shot on him here but it is one of my least confident picks this card. Andre Ewell by Decision
  • Nick: Jourdain has flashed knockout power, which was fully on display in his UFC debut against Doo Ho Choi. He throws a wide range of strikes, pushing an excellent pace and controlling the cage against lower-level opponents.  He’s coming off a hard fought but ugly third round submission loss to Julia Erosa. As is the case in many of his losses, he looked good until he didn’t. His Fight IQ is always a major concern. Andre Ewell is coming off back to back losses and there’s a decent chance he’s cut from the roster with a loss here. Ewell is known for his ability to strike at range, but he doesn’t offer much in terms of power. He’s going to have a significant reach advantage in this spot but has to be careful about throwing off his front foot and leaving himself open to counters. Ewell is moving up a weight class here so it’ll be interesting to see how this affects his durability. This should be a fun one while it lasts, but in a fight I expect to mostly take place on the feet Jourdain’s power should win out. Charles Jourdain by Round One KO
  • GB: Charles Jourdain by Round Two KO

Sijara Eubanks -160 (DK $8700, FD $16) vs Melissa Gatto +140 (DK $7500, FD $14)

  • Anthony: Next we have a women’s flyweight bout between Sijara Eubanks and Melissa Gatto. Eubanks was overweight yesterday and will forfeit a portion of her purse to Gatto as a result. This is not the first time that Eubanks came in heavy at 125 pounds, as she primarily fights up at bantamweight. A fighter with such significant cardio concerns should not be missing weight at this stage of her career. Every time I think about backing Eubanks and her powerful frame here, I imagine my money burning away in the third and final round. Gatto is a very talented grappler that will keep Eubanks honest in any ground exchanges here. I see Eubanks having a bit more success on the feet thanks to her power, but Gatto can certainly point fight and take over in the final five minutes. Neither one of these fighters are all that good in my opinion, but the young prospect Gatto has a good chance at remaining unbeaten in this matchup. Melissa Gatto by Decision
  • Nick: Eubanks is a tough and gritty fighter with advanced BJJ and an above average striking ability. While she’s an accredited BJJ practitioner, her greatest strength and preferred fighting style is a relentless and aggressive approach to striking. She’s the type to eat punches and keep moving forward. Gatto is coming off an impressive submission win over Victoria Leonardo, which came in her first fight since 2018. She is a talented offensive grappler as a BJJ blackbelt, with five of her seven professional wins coming by way of submission. Eubanks has been inconsistent at times, but when she’s on she has enough ability to hang with top competitors in this division. Eubanks has recently made the move back down to flyweight. She once again missed weight coming into this fight, but she’s going to be the much stronger fighter in this matchup which should make things difficult on Gatto when she tries to take her down. Gatto will have an advantage on the mat, but it’s not likely as wide of a discrepancy to keep the fight there for long. I’m at least marginally concerned about how Eubanks’ cardio holds up here, knowing she missed weight. Still, I see her as the rightful favorite. Sijara Eubanks by Decision
  • GB: Melissa Gatto by Decision

Justin Tafa -335 (DK $9400, FD $22) vs Harry Hunsucker +260 (DK $6800, FD $8)

  • Anthony: This will be an interesting fight at heavyweight between Justin Tafa and Harry Hunsucker. Tafa made history yesterday becoming the first UFC heavyweight to ever miss weight, coming in a pound heavy. I do not think this makes much of a difference but it does prove Tafa is closer to 300 than the heavyweight limit come fight day. Tafa throws powerful combinations that can really hurt opponents regardless of his size. I believe that shorter reach actually plays to an advantage at heavyweight as more damage can be done during exchanges at close range in the pocket. Hunsucker has been finished by strikes in all four of his professional losses. I believe that a first-round barrage by Tafa gets Hunsucker to the canvas rather quickly here tonight. He has shown an ability to rock far more durable fighters in the past and I think Tafa is rightfully a massive favorite in this spot. The weight miss is a little concerning but I am doubtful it plays much role at all in deciding the outcome here. Justin Tafa by Round One KO
  • Nick: Justin Tafa had a lot of hype coming into the promotion, but he has been mostly a disappointment so far. He has knockout power, but his cardio is suspect and he hasn’t really shown technical boxing ability on the level of other up-and-comers in this division. Tafa is mostly one-dimensional as a striker, but he has never been taken down in the UFC. He’s much more comfortable on the feet and I expect that’s where we see most of this fight take place. Hunsucker has knockout power, but he’s never won a fight against anyone at the UFC level. He could luck into an early KO here as he’s shown power on the regional scene, but I expect Tafa to be the better prepared and more skilled heavyweight in this spot. There is a potential path to victory here for Hunsucker if he can ground Tafa early. He has decent submission ability and Tafa doesn’t really offer anything off his back. Still, Hunsucker doesn’t really seem to be a UFC level fighter. I’m not convinced Tafa is either, but it feels like the UFC is trying to get him a win here. Justin Tafa by Round One KO
  • GB: Justin Tafa by Round One KO

Gerald Meerschaert -240 (DK $9000, FD $20) vs Dustin Stoltzfus +195 (DK $7200, FD $10)

  • Anthony: The preliminary card closes with this fight at middleweight between Gerald Meerschaert and Dustin Stoltzfus. Stoltzfus has had several fights fall through to close out 2021, but Meerschaert is stepping in on short notice for the opportunity here today. Stoltzfus has lost two consecutive fights while Meerschaert is conversely red hot as of late. GM3 won his last two fights by submission as a +110 and +440 underdog. He seems to be fighting more aggressive since his lost to Khamzat Chimaev, chasing the neck of his opponents as soon as it becomes available. Stoltzfus is considered a grappler by most but he has looked seriously outmatched thus far at this level. Meerschaert has 25 professional wins by submission and a great shot at locking up another one here against relatively weak competition. Sometimes he is tough to trust given his durability, but Meerschaert is one of my favorite plays tonight. Gerald Meerschaert by Round Two Submission
  • Nick: Meerschaert is well-rounded, but most of his professional wins have come by submission. He’s a highly skilled BJJ blackbelt with a seemingly endless arsenal of attacks. As good as Meerschaert is on the mat, he sometimes has trouble getting the fight there. His takedown entries leave a lot to be desired, but this match-up seems favorable for him on paper. Stoltzfus hasn’t seen the same level of competition that Meerschaert has, but he does look well-rounded when you watch him on film. He has a somewhat surprisingly effective kicking game which he uses to keep his opponents at range. As good as his kicking can look, Stoltzfus is primarily a grappler. He has a strong wrestling base and while his BJJ is still very much developing, he’s already shown an ability to find creative submissions with wins via both kneebar and twister. As impressive as this may seem, he’s been dominating on the ground against far inferior grapplers compared to Meerschaert. I expect Stoltzfus is more willing than he should be to let this fight hit the mat, where Meerschaert will have a clear advantage. Gerald Meerschaert by Round Two Submission
  • GB: Geerald Meerschaert by Round Three Submission

Main Card- Starts 7:00pm EST

Cub Swanson -180 (DK $8800, FD $18) vs Darren Elkins +155 (DK $7400, FD $12)

  • Anthony: The main card opens with a fight between featherweight veterans as Darren Elkins takes on Cub Swanson. This is a great matchup for the diehard fan as Elkins has been in the UFC since 2010. Swanson has fought for just as long against legends in both the WEC and UFC. There has been a small resurgence from Cub as of late but he has been facing the absolute best competition at featherweight without respite. In his fight with Daniel Pineda we saw a vintage knockout by Swanson, demonstrating that the hand speed and precision is still certainly there. Elkins is a high-pressure fighter with a closed stance. Swanson will likely land the cleaner shots as Elkins moves forward on him, but this will be anything but a one-sided affair. Elkins should look to make this matchup very ugly by clinching with Swason and potentially bringing him to the mat. It will be fun watching these veterans go at it but Swason is the side I feel much more comfortable backing. I predict this bout is the one named Fight of the Night when this event is over. Cub Swanson by Decision
  • Nick: He’s far past his prime, but Cub Swanson is a legend with wins over the likes of Dustin Poirier, Charles Oliveira and Chad Mendes. He’s one of the more accomplished featherweights in the history of the UFC. He has advanced technical ability both striking and in grappling exchanges. Elkins is an extremely tough and gritty veteran known as “The Damage” for his ability to take shots and keep moving forward. He is bloodied and bruised in almost all of his fights, regardless of whether or not he wins or loses. Elkis is decent offensively but he’s also extremely hittable. He is a technically gifted wrestler who does well in scrambles but there is no denying he’s on the downturn of his career. These guys are very similar in a lot of ways, but I still see Swanson as the better fighter in terms of technical ability.  I’ll have shares of Elkins for DFS purposes as he’s excellent value here. Still, I’m siding with Swanson in this spot. Elkins may be durable but I feel Swanson is more dangerous at this point in his career. As long as he paces himself here, this feels like Swanson’s fight to win or lose. Cub Swanson by Decision
  • GB: Cub Swanson by Round Two KO

Mateusz Gamrot -190 (DK $8500, FD $17) vs Carlos Diego Ferreira +160 (DK $7700, FD $13)

  • Anthony: Next we have a fight at lightweight between Mateusz Gamrot and Carlos Diego Ferreira. Yesterday we saw Ferreira hit the scale very late and look extremely drained, despite successfully matching the limit. It is concerning to back him after a tough weight cut given how quickly he gassed in his most recent loss. Diego Ferreira endured prolonged grappling exchanges with Gregor Gillespie but ultimately was broken and quit in the second round. Gamrot is extremely well rounded and I see him very content to grapple with Ferreira if given top position. However, Gamrot should  be significantly more powerful in the striking exchanges. He has the size advantage over an opponent making a very difficult weight cut. I think the young and talented Gamrot puts together another solid performance here. This is one of his toughest tests so far, but I still think there is value backing Gamrot as the favorite. Mateusz Gamrot by Round Three KO
  • Nick: A rising prospect at 155 and former KSW double-champ, Gamrot is an excellent chain grappler with a wide range of takedowns and entries. He has ridiculous cardio, a solid chin, and excellent instincts both scrambling and in striking exchanges. While he doesn’t really have true one-punch knockout power, he lands meaningful strikes that force his opponents to respect him no matter where the fight goes. He’s coming off an impressive submission win over Jeremy Stephens and an equally impressive knockout win over Scott Holtzman, and he’ll look to carry that momentum into this spot against a long time UFC veteran and his toughest test to date. Carlos Diego Ferreira is one of the more decorated BJJ blackbelts in the UFC. He’s more than competent on the feet, but his offensive grappling ability is definitely his greatest strength. Seven of his seventeen professional victories have come by way of submission. A good portion of this fight will almost certainly take place on the mat, so the question becomes whether or not Gamrot can control position and stay out of danger. This is a tough fight to call, but I expect he will. Ferreira is dangerous, especially early here, but I expect Gamrot’s momentum and hype continues to build. Mateusz Gamrot by Round Two KO
  • GB: Mateusz Gamrot by Decision

Ricky Simon -300 (DK $9200, FD $21) vs Raphael Assuncao +235 (DK $7000, FD $10)

  • Anthony: Here we have a bantamweight matchup between Ricky Simon and Raphael Assuncao. Simon is the much better grappler and I expect that he dominates using his wrestling in this spot. He should be able to chain together takedowns and keep the older, slower Assuncao on his heels for the majority of this one. Assuncao has lost three consecutive bouts and Simon is the far more promising fighter moving forward. I do not imagine the bantamweight nearing 40 years of age pulling off anything spectacular here. Simon has already disposed of some very tough outs in this weight class. This is a spot that he likely improves his winning streak and enters the rankings at bantamweight. I really think Assuncao is the typical striker that crumples against Simon’s wrestling heavy gameplan. He is a top tier play when it comes to DFS options on this slate. Ricky Simon by Decision
  • Nick: Rafael Assuncao was formerly a top contender at 135, but he seems to be in the twilight of his career. He’s managed impressive wins over fighters like Aljamain Sterling, Pedro Munhoz, Rob Font, and Marlon Moraes. However, he’s now coming off three consecutive losses. Simon has been an underachiever,  but he’s still amongst the class of this division. He is coming off consecutive wins over Brian Kelleher, Gaetano Pirrello and Ray Borg, but Assuncao is a much tougher test than any of these opponents. Simon averages just shy of a ridiculous seven takedowns per fifteen minutes. He’s going to have a considerable grappling advantage here and I expect he’s not far off from Assuncao in terms of striking ability.  This is a closer matchup than the line suggests, but Simon should be able to control this fight on the mat for however long he needs to. If Simon makes the mistake of standing and swinging with Assuncao he could find himself on the wrong end of an upset here. Still, this seems to be two fighters headed in different directions. Ricky Simon by Decision
  • GB: Ricky Simon by Decision

Amanda Lemos -290 (DK $9500, FD $23) vs Angela Hill +230 (DK $6700, FD $8)

  • Anthony: The featured bout is a women’s strawweight matchup between Angela Hill and Amanda Lemos. This is an interesting bout that likely only resides this far up the card to give a bit of rub to Lemos. We have seen Lemos win four straight fights since her UFC debut, earning three first round finishes amongst them. She clearly has a lot of power in her hands as now comfortably making strawweight really raises the overall ceiling for her moving forward. Hill is a striker that can put out significant volume, but I doubt she lands anything that stops the forward momentum of Lemos here today. She will need to rely on other aspects of her game in order to make this fight competitive because on the feet, I see Lemos piecing her up. Hill has shown a propensity to eat damage and continue fighting to a decision, so ultimately I am unsure if a finish materializes here. However, I think Lemos is the rightful favorite and expect her to extend that winning streak by getting her hand raised here. Amanda Lemos by Decision
  • Nick: Angela Hill does a good job pushing forward and putting pressure on her opponents. She’s willing to eat shots to throw them. She’s primarily a Muay-Thai striker who does her best work striking at close range. She has found a lot of success overpowering and muscling takedowns against smaller and inferior opponents. That being said, Lemos is anything but that. A major key to this matchup is the fact Lemos used to fight at bantamweight. She’s likely going to be the much bigger fighter here. Lemos is similar to Hill in that she’s willing to eat shots to throw them, but she’s the more powerful puncher in this match-up. Her striking in the clinch may not be quite on the same level as Hill, but she throws with a lot more power and she lands her strikes at a much higher rate. Additionally, Lemos does an excellent job mixing in leg kicks to keep her opponents at range. Lemos also averages two takedowns per fight, so she has multiple ways to get this done if she needs to. I am backing Lemos here, but the DFS prices and the betting lines both seem a bit ridiculous. It wouldn’t at all be surprising to see Hill pull off this upset, and she makes a solid value target for DFS. My confidence certainly doesn’t match the price, but Lemos is the pick. Amanda Lemos by Decision
  • GB: Amanda Lemos by Round Two KO

Stephen Thompson -225 (DK $9100, FD $21) vs Belal Muhammad +185 (DK $7100, FD $10)

  • Anthony: Our co-main event should be a fun fight at welterweight between Stephen Thompson and Belal Muhammad. Thompson is the far superior striker and I expect him to cruise in this matchup. He is a very difficult opponent to emulate in sparing given his difficult karate stance. The angles that Wonderboy hits in order to close range on opponents is something incredible to watch in real time. Muhammad will likely try to bring him to the mat but I seriously doubt we see him find the success that Gilbert Burns did. Thompson should keep the smaller Muhammad off him and win this fight at range through more calculated striking. With only three rounds to work with, Thompson’s value does take a bit of a hit. However, I really think Wonderboy has no problem winning this fight rather convincingly. I only see a talented kickboxer like this falling to the division’s absolute best fighters. Thompson is just on another level in terms of technical striking. Stephen Thompson by Decision
  • Nick: Stephen Thompson is still among the class of this division. He mostly fights in an open stance, using his excellent Karate style to throw off the timing of his opponents. He is light on his feet, constantly switches and generally does an excellent job circling away from danger. He’s coming off a tough loss to Gilbert Burns, but Burns is widely considered to be one of the better grapplers in the division. Muhammad is one of these guys that has no real standout skill. If he has any one advantage over Thompson it’s his pressure. He doesn’t wait for the fight to come to him, he aggressively pursues it. Muhammad’s greatest strength can also be a weakness as his relentless style often leaves him open to damaging counters. We’ve seen him rattled in his recent fights against Leon Edwards, Dhiego Lima, and Lyman Good. Muhammad has underrated striking ability, but it really isn’t anywhere remotely close to the level of Thompson. He is likely to have a power advantage here and we have seen Thompson rocked before, but the clearest path to victory is taking Thompson to the mat. Muhammad has a chance here if he can mix in takedowns and make this ugly. However, that’s proven to be extremely difficult. Thompson is a master of distance management and I expect him to keep this fight standing however long as he needs to. Stephen Thompson by Decision
  • GB: Stephen Thompson by Decision

Chris Daukaus -145 (DK $8300, FD $20) vs Derrick Lewis +125 (DK $7900, FD $17)

  • Anthony: The final fight of 2021 will be a heavyweight scrap between the veteran Derrick Lewis and streaking prospect Chris Daukaus. It has been four straight wins for Daukaus since entering the UFC, all by knockout. Dakaus clearly is smaller than most heavyweights but as a result he has a significant speed advantage over them. Derrick Lewis is thirty pounds heavier than Daukaus here, making for what will be an interesting fight in close range. Lewis as always has a punchers chance given his ungodly power, but I do not think the betting odds make Lewis an attractive pick this week. Daukaus is much faster and more technical than Lewis who stands at a very similar height. As long as Daukaus fights smart, I think he eventually overwhelms Lewis as this fight wears on. It is another very tough matchup for Lewis stylistically coming off his loss to Ciryl Gane. I do not think the UFC would throw Daukaus into a main event like this if they did not believe in Daukaus’ upside like I do. He has far more paths to victory than Lewis does. When it comes to price per dollar, Daukaus is play I highly suggest targeting on FanDuel and DraftKings. Chris Daukaus by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Daukaus has fast hands for a heavyweight. He’s a bit undersized for the division, but he’s been continuously adding bulk and muscle and it seems that he’s only going to continue to build into this frame. Daukaus is going to have an athleticism advantage here. He’s far from a physical specimen, but he’s already in much better shape than he was when he made his UFC debut and his speed can definitely be weaponized here against a plodding power puncher like Lewis. Coming off four consecutive KOs under the UFC banner, Daukaus has been impressive. That being said, Lewis represents a dramatic step up in competition for him in this match-up.  Lewis doesn’t throw much volume, but he is an extremely skilled counter-striker who has shown, on several occasions, that he has enough power to end any fight with a single punch. He’s a true knockout artist with twenty of his twenty-five professional wins coming via KO. Daukaus has more paths than Lewis does to victory here. He’s going to have a considerable grappling advantage if he can take Lewis down. If he can’t, he’s going to win rounds off volume and footwork. That all being said, Lewis is the more dangerous fighter in this match-up. His power is truly ridiculous, and he’s shown time and time again that he can carry that power into the later rounds. I do believe Daukaus is going to be a staple of this division for years to come. However, this feels like a bit too much too soon. He’s going to have technical advantages no matter where this fight goes, but that’s never stopped Lewis in the past. I’ll definitely have shares of both fighters for DFS purposes. Still, I prefer the Lewis side in this one. I expect Daukas to win the early rounds, but Lewis to find an opening before things are said and done. Derrick Lewis by Round Three KO
  • GB: Derrick Lewis by Round One KO

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