UFC 162 July 6, 2013 Middleweights: Tim Boetsch vs. Mark Munoz By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics Big Picture: In the second fight of the main card we have two guys that were making runs at middleweight contender status until they both got derailed with recent losses. Only one can rally their way back up the ladder, while the other will get two losses in a row. Tough break, but that’s sports. Given that this betting line is the closest on the entire card, the market is saying that this is a coin flip fight. But what do the numbers say? Summary Stats:
Tale of Tape Matchup: Despite both being right handed and the same height, it’s Boetsch that has a significant reach advantage and is still in his early 30’s as opposed the wrong side of 35. So right out of the gate Boetsch has a slight statistical advantage based on just anthropometrics, but not a big one. And yet Boetsch is currently the betting underdog. So let’s move on to historical performance metrics. Standup Game: In many ways where Munoz has been good, Boetsch has been just a little better. He’s the more accurate striker, he has the better cage control, and he has better defense. Munoz statistically has higher knockdown power, but that’s countered by his suspect chin and his age. When it comes the standup exchanges, Boetsch should be getting a few more shots offs, and landing slightly more of them. Even if he doesn’t score a knockdown, this will be enough to win rounds. Ground Game: Despite NCAA pedigree, Munoz has had a tough time translating his mat skills to the cage. Though he attempts more takedowns on average than Boetsch, Munoz has a lower success rate, one that is actually well below average for the division. Boetsch counters that with decent, above average takedown defense, which doesn’t provide much clarity to prediction which fighter will gain top control if the fight goes down. Historically, Munoz has broken even in ground control, whereas Boetsch has more often than not been on the bottom. This could be the best path to victory for Munoz: ground and pound. But is it enough to warrant favorite status against a tough fighter with several advantages. Fight Prediction: Coming off a long layoff where he famously ballooned in weight and clearly took time off from the game, Munoz is not in a great position to be facing an angry and scrappy underdog. Though I think the line here is deservedly tight, I give the slight edge to Boetsch. The underdog pick therefore poses value, despite no clear mismatch in any sense of the fight. I just think somehow, some way The Barbarian gets it done. Reed’s Pick: Boetsch by Decision Reed’s Recommended Play: A straight play on the underdog at +115 is just fine. I think Boetsch can win this any which way, including by decision. I expect this fight to go to decision, but the Over of 2.5 rounds at -170 doesn’t pose much value, considering Middleweights finish inside the distance almost 60% of the time. If anything, the stats say take the under, though I’m hesitant given how tough these guys are. But at a nearly pick ‘em line, and with an underdog looking solid on paper, that’s enough for a straight up play on the Barbarian.