UFC Fight Night 30 October 26, 2013 Middleweight: Lyoto Machida vs. Mark Munoz By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics Big Picture: Former light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida has made the move to middleweight, something that was perhaps overdue. Assuming he makes a good cut (and pictures posted so far suggest that is the case), he’ll be much better off competing at middleweight where he doesn’t have to face larger-framed opponents like Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson or Phil Davis. Mark Munoz is now on the rebound from after suffering a knockout to Chris Weidman and taking some hard time off. His dominant return against Tim Boetsch silenced the doubters and confirmed he is back in fighting shape. Despite being a late replacement for the injured Michael Bisping, Machida is currently a big -360 favorite over Munoz at +300. Let’s see how they compare on the stat-line. Summary Stats:
Tale of Tape Matchup: The most important “Bio” number on here is first one, both fighters are 35 years old. That elevates both their risks for a fight-ending knockdown. In addition, Machida also will have a reach and stance advantage as the longer southpaw. These factors suggest Machida has a big striking advantage, and also that the fight is less likely to go the distance. Striking Matchup: In standup striking it’s a clean sweep for Machida, who isn’t just the better striker here, but also one of the best strikers in UFC history. My own analysis of the UFC’s most dangerous strikers placed Machida at #4 on that list. He has clear knockdown power that has earned him 11 total knockdowns, tying him with Junior dos Santos for fourth all time in that category. Throughout a long career against top-level talent Machida has managed to maintain astonishingly high striking accuracy, all while making opponents miss at an absurd pace. The one area he is closest to Munoz is in his knockdown defense (his “chin”), which shows that although he doesn’t get hit often, when he does there’s a higher than average chance he’ll fall. That could come into play, but still the numbers show a clear standup striking advantage to Machida. While standing Munoz has been a hesitant striker, normally allowing opponents to outpace him. He has had good accuracy with his jab, but is average with his power hand. His defense is also average, while his chin rating is well below average after being dropped four different times. If he tries coming forward on Machida, he could walk into something bad. Grappling Matchup: On the ground is where Munoz finally has some advantages. He averages over three takedown attempts per round, which is a good way to stifle a striker and force them to play defense. However, Munoz only lands a quarter of those attempts, which doesn’t bode well against Machida’s above average takedown defense. Machida has seen this scenario before and has faced a very high number of takedowns in his UFC career, stopping all but 18% of them. Munoz will no doubt want to get this to the ground, but Machida will be ready for it, and has also shown an ability to handle himself well under other wrestlers, often getting back to his feet with little damage. Reed’s Pick: Machida by TKO (click for latest MMA odds) Reed’s Recommended Play: Lots of advantages favor Machida, justifying his position as a heavy favorite. He makes a reasonable play assuming he looks good at weigh-ins, but it’s a lot of juice to risk considering this his own chin is vulnerable too. If you take him straight up or put him into parlays, also consider the Under of 2.5 rounds, which is currently +140. Plus money for a middleweight fight to end early is usually a good bet since they finish fights almost 60% of the time. Factor in the age and chins of both fighters, and as long as this doesn’t turn into a wrestling match, there’s a good chance this will end in strikes one way or the other. Munoz is certainly capable of applying pressure and winning rounds, so if this goes the distance, he could earn an upset. Later in the week look for potential value on a longshot prop for Munoz by decision, or the more likely play on Machida inside the distance.