Cole Miller vs. Manvel Gamburyan – UFC Fight Night 26 Statistical Analysis and Fight Pick Aug 17, 2013

UFC Fight Night 26
August 17, 2013

Bantamweights: Cole Miller vs. Manvel Gamburyan

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

Big Picture:
Closing out the Facebook Prelims are two guys that competed on the same team of The Ultimate Fighter Season 5. Six years later Cole Miller and Manvel (“Manny”) Gamburyan are being reunited in the cage, this time as opponents. Both are veterans of the sport, but have had a middle of the pack record during their UFC careers.

Gamburyan is currently a near pick ‘em favorite at -135, while Miller is technically the underdog at +105. Only one of these fighters will ascend a small way back up the crowded featherweight ladder with a two-fight win streak. So let’s see if the numbers give us a hint as to who has the advantage in a fight the betting public currently can’t decide on.

Summary Stats:

McDonald vs Pickett Stats

Tale of Tape Matchup:
Right away we see that Cole Miller has the much larger frame. But then that’s no surprise when facing a fighter built like Gamburyan, who is appropriately nicknamed “The Anvil.” But regardless of the strength of the two fighters, Miller will be younger, taller and longer. And that six-inch reach advantage could become even more significant based on the stylistic matchup.

Striking Matchup:
Most of the striking stats favor Miller, as he has the better cage control and power accuracy. The only area where Gamburyan is better than average is in his jab accuracy. But remember, he’ll be at a huge reach disadvantage here, so jabs will be much less effective. If Miller is patient and mobile, he should get the better of the exchanges. And pace-wise, Miller is used to fighting at a much higher volume than Gamburyan, meaning if neither fighter can do damage Miller should still win the rounds on activity.

Defensively, Miller’s stats again are slightly superior, and the reach differential should magnify that. Although he’s suffered some tough KO’s, the real recipe for his most recent losses was facing similarly sized, high-paced strikers (Nam Phan and Steven Siler). And Gamburyan is definitely not of that mold. For Gamburyan to win on the feet, he’ll have to push forward against a much longer and decently accurate power striker, which is a tough thing to do. So overall I see Miller being able to do more with his hands in this matchup.

Grappling Matchup:
The ground game gets interesting, because Gamburyan has historically been in a rush to get the fight to the mat. He has a very high takedown attempt rate, the highest of any fighter on the entire card by a long-shot. But interestingly, his success rate is poor. While Miller’s takedown defense rate isn’t great, between his size advantage and the likely need for Gamburyan to force the takedowns, Miller should have a reasonable chance to keep things standing.

But what if he doesn’t? That’s where the real hack to this matchup comes in. Gamburyan is powerful and a high level judo practitioner, so he might end up in top control eventually if he uses the clinch to get there. But Cole Miller is very active with submissions. In fact, Miller has finished by submission is his last six straight wins, earning Submission of the Night bonus honors three times. If he ends up on his back, he has all the tools to make that a bad place to be for his opponent.

Reed’s Pick: Miller by Submission (Click for latest MMA Odds)

Reed’s Recommended Play:
An underdog (albeit a mild one) with Tale of the Tape advantages and clear paths to victory on the feet and on the mat all makes for a reasonable upset pick. Therefore, a straight play on Miller at +105 is a good value. Also keep in mind that Miller has finished his opponents in seven out of eight UFC wins. While featherweight wins inside the distance are a roughly even proposition, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a decent plus money line for Miller inside the distance.
Even more interesting if we’re worried about a powerful shot from Gamburyan on the ground causing a TKO is the Under at -115 for 2.5 rounds. Both lines return nearly even money. Consider a small play on those props as well.

Written by Reed Kuhn

Dropping science in the cage with UFC statistics & analytics. Quantifying underlying drivers of the fight game, and ending barroom disputes everywhere.

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