On Saturday, UFC 270 is taking place from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The event is headlined by two title fights. The main event is a heavyweight title bout between UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane. Ngannou and Gane are former training partners and represent the two most elite fighters in the heavyweight division.
The co-main event is a trilogy fight between UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno and former champion Deiveson Figueiredo. Figueiredo and Moreno fought to a draw in a classic fight at UFC 256 in the first fight, and Moreno beat Figueiredo to claim the title at UFC 263.
- Ciryl Gane (-155) vs. Francis Ngannou (+135)
- Brandon Moreno (-180) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (+155)
- Michel Pereira (-265) vs. Andre Fialho (+215)
- Said Nurmagomedov (-200) vs. Cody Stamann (+170)
One of the most exciting HW fights in UFC ⚔️@Francis_Ngannou and @Ciryl_Gane battle to be the Baddest Man on Earth SATURDAY NIGHT— UFC (@ufc) January 19, 2022
[ #UFC270 | Saturday | Live on ESPN+ PPV: https://t.co/Nr2IHwyyOv ] pic.twitter.com/xbHz8r2O2o
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Francis Ngannou ($7,800)
Francis Ngannou is probably the most terrifying power puncher in UFC history. Ngannou routinely crushes his opponents due to his all-time great punching power combined with his speed and extremely long arms. Ngannou has a massive 83-inch reach, which is one of the longest reaches in the UFC. Ngannou’s long, powerful, fast arms make him a finishing machine. Ngannou has an incredible 100% finish rate for all of his wins and has knocked out all five of his most recent opponents, four of which have come inside 90 seconds. This type of destruction is extremely rare at the highest level of the sport.
Ngannou is not a particularly accurate striker, landing only about 41% of his significant strike attempts. Ngannou can swing wildly, but he punches so hard that it covers up for inefficient striking—if he touches his opponent’s chin once with anything near full force, there’s a good chance the fight is going to be over.
Ciryl Gane ($8,400) is the more technical striker and is elite at managing distance. Gane’s significant strikes landed to significant strikes absorbed ratio is much better than Ngannou’s, which reflects the difference in technique between the two. Gane has landed more than twice the significant strikes he has absorbed, landing over five significant strikes per minute while absorbing about two significant strikes per minute. Gane’s ability to evade significant strikes is also supported by his rate stats, as he has avoided a strong 62% of opponent significant strike attempts, which is much better than Ngannou’s rate of 45%.
Gane’s appeal extends beyond his numbers. Gane is a chiseled 6’4”, 245 pounds with excellent athleticism by the standards of the heavyweight division. He is lengthy and uses his size well, and he uses his length to manage distance to produce strong defense. Gane often positions himself just outside of his opponent’s reach, which helps him avoid significant strike attempts and has contributed to his 62% striking defense number.
Gane also uses his length well offensively, particularly through his leg kicks. Gane’s leg-kicking game is a safe way to attack offensively because he is generally able to land strikes outside of his opponent’s punching range.
Gane’s striking game is very well-rounded, featuring an assortment of kicks, knees, elbows and punches that land to the legs, body and head. Gane’s kickboxing skill and athleticism really stand out at heavyweight, a division that can often feature sloppy brawls between fighters who aren’t as skilled or athletic as fighters in the lighter weight classes.
The difference in this fight could come down to Ngannou’s length and pressure. Gane has not fought someone as long as Ngannou in the UFC yet—Alexander Volkov’s 80-inch reach is the longest contender Gane has fought. Ngannou can throw punches from a distance that Gane has not seen in the UFC yet. Ngannou pressuring forward on the feet could also keep Gane retreating on his back foot and make it difficult for him to use his kicking game. Ngannou’s all-time great punching power covers up for inefficient striking and gives him a chance to win at any moment during the fight, even if he’s behind on the scorecards.
If this fight goes the distance (+200), Gane will likely be ahead on the scorecards given his advantages in striking technique, but Ngannou has an excellent chance to end the fight before it reaches the judges’ scorecards.
Ngannou has been a big fantasy scorer on the back of his ridiculous punching power, averaging over 90 DraftKings fantasy points per fight, the third most on the card. Given his affordable salary, he’s worth plugging in as a value play in a very winnable fight. Betting on Ngannou to win also carries plus odds.
DraftKings Sportsbook bets to consider:
- Francis Ngannou moneyline (+135)
- Francis Ngannou by finish (+165)
- Francis Ngannou by KO, TKO or DQ (+175)
Deiveson Figueiredo ($7,700)
Figueiredo’s first fight against Brandon Moreno ($8,500) was highly competitive, with both fighters displaying incredible toughness. Figueiredo landed several vicious strikes that would have badly hurt most other opponents, but Moreno kept eating the shots, which seemed to surprise Figueiredo. Moreno also had moments where he caught Figueiredo with flush strikes, but Figueiredo’s strong chin allowed him to eat the shots. The final striking tally was incredibly close, with Figueiredo landing five more significant strikes—137 to 132. Both fighters were able to score takedowns, but both fighters were able to scramble up and avoid significant control time or damage on the ground. The fight officially ended in a draw, but Figueiredo would have won a decision had he not been deducted a point for a groin strike.
In their second fight, Moreno showcased significant improvement in all aspects of his game, working Figueiredo over on the feet and out-grappling Figueiredo. Moreno showcased a sharp, stinging jab that dropped Figueiredo and out-landed Figueiredo 47 to 24 in significant strikes. Moreno got the better of Figueiredo in scrambles and took his back multiple times, which ultimately set up the fight-winning rear-naked choke. Figueiredo looked off all fight, and it’s possible his weight cut was an issue for him, which has been a theme throughout Figueiredo’s career.
Figueiredo has a history of being an explosive fight finisher, so he is a live and dangerous underdog if he’s right. Figueiredo has finished seven of his 12 UFC fights and is tied for the all-time lead in finishes in the history of the flyweight division. Figueiredo entered his first fight with Moreno coming off four straight finishes, including three first-round submissions, which Figueiredo actively hunts. Figueiredo has attacked armbars, chokes and leglocks in scrambles in recent fights and was hunting a guillotine against Moreno in their most recent fight.
Because Figueiredo actively hunts submissions rather than waiting for opportunities, Figueiredo has posted big submission statistics, leading the flyweight division in total submission attempts (18) and sitting third in submission average per 15 minutes (2.13). Figueiredo has been confident in his guard and scrambling, which has allowed him to aggressively attack submissions because he does not fear being on his back. This came back to bite Figueiredo in the second fight against Moreno as Moreno won the scrambles and secured strong positions on the ground. It’s possible we see Figueiredo take fewer positional risks in the third fight given how the second fight ended.
Figueiredo also has very powerful striking, which has been a big threat for him both in the stand-up game and on the ground against most other opponents. On the feet, Figueiredo leads all flyweights in total knockdowns (8) and ranks fourth-best in the division by knockdowns per 15 minutes (0.95). Figueiredo also displays strong ground-and-pound, which at times has opened up submission opportunities, most notably in his fight against Joseph Benavidez where thunderous ground-and-pound forced Benavidez to give up his back and allow Figueiredo to sink in a fight-finishing choke. Figueiredo leading the division in submission attempts and knockdowns shows why he is so dangerous. Moreno has avoided Figueiredo’s finishing skills with strong defensive grappling and a granite chin.
Figueiredo does have flaws that were exposed by Moreno in the last fight. On the feet, Figueiredo is prone to keeping his hands low, which makes him hittable. Figueiredo has generally displayed a strong chin, but Moreno was able to knock down Figueiredo for the first time in Figueiredo’s UFC career in their last fight with a strong jab that Figueiredo could not evade. Figueiredo has also been susceptible to takedowns. Figueiredo has stopped only 58% of opponent takedown attempts in the UFC and has been taken down by Moreno a total of six times in two fights.
Moreno has not officially been finished in his professional MMA career, but he did lose via submission to Alexandre Pantoja on The Ultimate Fighter after giving up his back off a takedown. The reason the submission loss is not on Moreno’s professional record is because the fight is officially classified as an exhibition bout.
Figueiredo could decide that his best method to beat the iron-chined Moreno is through takedowns and top position. Figueiredo went for several takedowns in the first fight and was successful on two of them, including in the closing seconds of the fight, where Figueiredo took Moreno down with less than 15 seconds left and had the buzzer go off while he was in top position. Figueiredo also recorded a takedown in the second round of their rematch before losing top position due to going for a guillotine choke.
Figueiredo could try to do his striking damage from top position on the ground and attempt to maintain top position in a more measured and cautious approach. If that happens, we could see this fight go the distance (+120), which could aid Figueiredo’s control time and fantasy volume.
Figueiredo is a risky fantasy play because of how decisively Moreno beat him in their last fight, but he has legitimate ways to win and is a value consideration at $7,700. The fight is also five rounds, which potentially creates 10 more minutes to generate fantasy scoring.
As for betting on this fight, taking the fight to go the distance (+120) at plus money could be an appealing bet. Moreno is very difficult to finish due to his toughness and chin, and if Figueiredo is content to fight more cautiously, the fight could go to the judges’ scorecards again. We’ve also seen this matchup go the distance already in the first fight. Taking the fight to go the distance also creates margin for error with picking the winner.
DraftKings Sportsbook bet to consider:
Brandon Moreno vs. Deiveson Figueiredo: To go the distance: Yes (+120)
Michel Pereira ($9,100)
Pereira carries fantasy appeal due to a late opponent switch. Pereira was originally supposed to face Muslim Salikhov at last week’s UFC Fight Night event, but he will now fight this Saturday and face UFC newcomer Andre Fialho, who is taking the fight on short notice. Pereira is a large step up in competition for Fialho, who has been fighting in smaller promotions recently and has no UFC experience. Fialho has had very little time to prepare for this fight, which gives Pereira a substantial advantage. As a result, Pereira is a strong -280 favorite on the moneyline on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Biggest DraftKings Sportsbook favorites
Ilia Topuria ($9,400)
Raoni Barcelos ($9,300)
Topuria and Barcelos are the biggest favorites on the slate with moneylines over -500, which makes them both very safe to pay up for.
Barcelos’ opponent, Victor Henry, has no UFC experience and has been fighting in smaller promotions recently. Barcelos is landing over five significant strikes per minute, which is solid striking volume, and has good defense on a rate basis.
Topuria is facing Charles Jourdain, who has poor takedown defense on a rate basis. Jourdain has stopped just 48% of opponent takedown attempts, which could help Topuria secure grappling volume. Topuria is averaging over three takedowns per 15 minutes and could be set up well for takedowns and control time in this matchup. Jourdain is also fighting on short notice.
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