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MMA by the Numbers: Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes at UFC 142

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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.

[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: Jose Aldo

Statistically, this is a pure striker-vs-grappler match up.

The advantage in striking goes to Aldo. He’s landed more strikes, done a better job limiting opponents’ strikes, is the more efficient striker, and the heavier-handed striker (6.9 knockdowns + knockouts per hour compared to ZERO for Mendes).

The advantage in grappling goes to Mendes. At 21 takedowns per hour, Mendes is one of the most effective wrestlers we track. But Aldo has successfully defended 94% of opponents’ takedown attempts and the key question for this match up is whether Mendes will be able to get him to the ground.

Other factors: Aldo has faced a significantly tougher level of competition (advantage Aldo). And Aldo will have a 4″ reach advantage (which is significant, advantage Aldo).

Putting it all together, the math gives Aldo the edge to win (57%).

. . . . .

Pick to bet: neither fighter

The current moneyline on Mendes is +210 (= 32% chance of winning, $100 pays $210).

My tried-and-true betting rules say to bet on Mendes because the odds do not reflect his  legitimate chance of winning this bout. But I’m overruling those rules because I think Aldo is too dominating right now to justify picking against him. If the odds were a lot longer against Mendes I would be tempted, but not at +210.

. . . . .

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 analysis over at Breakdown Fights.