Tyron Woodley vs Jake Shields – UFC 161 Statistical Analysis and Fight Pick

UFC 161 June 15, 2013 Welterweights: Jake Shields vs. Tyron Woodley By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics Big Picture: Jake Shields held welterweight and middleweight titles in EliteXC and Strikeforce, respectively, before being brought in to make a run at the UFC title. Despite wins over the who’s who of non-UFC fighters of the day, since losing to Georges St-Pierre, he has gone 1-1 with one no contest. Meanwhile, Tyron Woodley is another Strikeforce crossover who at 11-1 seems to still be on the rise. His lone loss in the Strikeforce championship to Nate Marquardt shouldn’t overshadow his potential in the UFC as a top tier welterweight. His only loss and only close fight have come against some very dangerous strikers (most of whom he defeated), so it’s worth looking to see what Jake Shields brings to the cage. Summary Stats:

Woodley Shields Stats

Tale of Tape Matchup: Though Shields is taller, he has the shorter reach of the two. Not much of an advantage either way there. But Woodley will have a slight Youth Advantage, and Jake Shields is now on the wrong side of 34. Notice that Shields has been knocked down 3 times now, and his chin may now be working against him. Standup Game: Jake Shields’ striking doesn’t stack up well with just about anyone, let alone a power striker like Woodley. Shields’ only good metrics are his pace and cage control, though those may be skewed due to his persistent takedown threat. A natural counter striker like Woodley with a crisp jab and extremely high knockdown power should be a perfect foil. Woodley’s advantages on the feet should be the difference as long as he gets a chance to pull the trigger and doesn’t get caught playing defense for three rounds. One note on the stat-line is that the Knockdown Defense metric for both fighters is a little misleading. All three knockdowns for Shields, as well as Woodley’s sole knockdown received, happened in the clinch or against the fence. So they are not counted in the Knockdown measurement which is based on knockdowns from a distance. But in terms of avoiding strikes, they have nearly identical defensive metrics. Overall, between the numbers and the age, it should be Shields who is more at risk for a knockdown here. Ground Game: Shields’ grappling is definitely his greatest strength. But the key stat here is Takedown Defense. Shields had trouble getting to the ground against fighters with stout takedown defense. His two losses in the UFC came against Jake Ellenberger and Georges St-Pierre, who both have great takedown defense and won the fight with striking. Woodley’s takedown defense has been just as good to date, and he as has spent even more time on the mat in control than Shields has. While it may be striking that finishes this fight, it will be takedown defense where the first battle will be fought. Fight Prediction: We all expect Shields to try to get this to the ground, but he’ll have trouble with Woodley’s wrestling. The longer it stays standing, the more Woodley will get the better of striking exchanges. Eventually, I think Woodley hurts Shields and swarms for the finish. Reed’s Pick: Woodley by TKO Reed’s Recommended Play: Jake Shields’ title experience and fight résumé’ are keeping this line close. But I think Woodley for the win straight up at -175 presents decent value based on his solid takedown defense and a dangerous striking mismatch. For the believers, consider splitting your bet to include Woodley by TKO at +210 for some plus money value on the most likely outcome.

Written by Reed Kuhn

Leave a Reply

UFC 161 Preliminary Card Preview

Nick Kalikas and Luca Fury Featured on SBR Forum’s UFC 161 Preview