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MMA Analysis: Roy Nelson vs. Fabricio Werdum at UFC 143

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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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Click for all UFC 143 breakdowns.

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

Betting Strategy:

Pick to win: Fabricio Werdum by Submission, Round 1

Surprisingly, Fabricio Werdum has the statistical advantage in striking. While I do think Werdum’s striking is underrated, a big % of his strikes has been ground-and-pound, so I’ve got to give the edge on the feet to Roy “Big Country” Nelson.

Also note that Nelson has been fairly heavy-handed, delivering 4.5 knockdowns + knockouts per hour. That’s important because Werdum’s chin is suspect; he’s been knocked down or out 4.8 times per hour by opponents.

Werdum has the strong statistical advantage in grappling. He’s outperformed Nelson by nearly every grappling stat we track.

Other factors: Werdum will have a 4″ reach advantage (which is significant, advantage Werdum). And Nelson is coming off a win and Werdum a loss (which is also significant, advantage Nelson).

Putting it all together, the math gives Werdum the edge for the win (58%).

. . . . .

Pick to bet: likely Fabricio Werdum

The current moneyline on Werdum is -120 (= 55% chance of winning, $100 pays $91).

Based on the stats, I think the odds underestimate Werdum’s chances of winning this bout. I’ll continue to monitor the odds and bet on Werdum at -150 or better.

Click for all UFC 143 breakdowns.

. . . . .

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).

Click to read more FAQs about understanding these stats.

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Get more great MMA news and analysis over at Breakdown Fights.