Sports

MMA Analysis: Michael Bisping vs. Chael Sonnen on UFC on Fox 2

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Below we’ve measured each fighter’s performance in major fights over the last 5 years and each fighter’s probability of winning this match up based on (uber nerdy) statistical analysis.

After the stats, I’ll talk about any wagers I’ll be making.

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[Ed. Note: Make sure to check out all of Mike the Geek's other MMA analysis over at Breakdown Fights]

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Betting Strategy:

Pick to win: Chael Sonnen by Decision

The statistical edge in striking goes to Sonnen, but the vast majority of Sonnen’s strikes have been via ground-and-pound, so I’m giving the advantage in striking to Bisping (stats be damned).

Fun fact: despite all the things that he’s very good at, Sonnen is definitely not heavy-handed. He ranks second out of all fighters we track for the most strikes thrown without a single knockdown or knockout. Who’s first? Jon Fitch.

The (huge) edge in grappling goes to Sonnen. Example: he’s completed 14.6 takedowns per hour, while allowing only 1, which puts him in the top 10% of all fighters we track.

Other factors: Sonnen has faced a tougher level of competition (advantage Sonnen). Sonnen fights southpaw and Bisping orthodox (advantage Sonnen). Bisping will enjoy a 2″ reach advantage, but that is insignificant.

Putting it all together, the math gives Sonnen the strong edge to win (87%).

. . . . .

Pick to bet: Chael Sonnen (odds favorite)

The current moneyline on Sonnen is -445 (= 82% chance of winning, \$100 pays \$22).

I rarely play favorites when the odds are this long, but I think Sonnen is a solid bet assuming the odds don’t get much longer.

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. . . . .

Understanding the Stats:

Data only includes fights from the last 5 years with stats in the Fight Metric database. That means fights in smaller organizations are ignored.

Results are color-coded by how the fighter compares to all other fighters in the database: the darker the green the better, the darker the red the worse. High numbers are good in the fighter’s column, low numbers are good in the fighter’s opponents column.

The “probability of win” (top of stats) is based on analysis of the stats that matter the most in determining who wins fights, and is the most important thing I look at when deciding how to wager on a fight (read more).

The “level of competition” (bottom of stats) captures how difficult the fighter’s opponents have been by showing the total 5-year W/L record of opponents at the time they fought. It’s easy to rack up sexy stats when you fight goofs (and vice-versa) so stats should be viewed with the level of competition in mind (read more).