Diego Sanchez vs Myles Jury – UFC 171 Statistical Analysis and Fight Pick

UFC 171 March 15, 2014 Lightweight Matchup: #15 Diego Sanchez vs Myles Jury By @Fightnomics   Big Picture:  Old School versus New School: unranked but undefeated up-and-comer Myles Jury is taking on one of the last remaining cast members from the original season of the Ultimate Fighter. Diego Sanchez is ranked just on the cusp at #15 coming off a punishing three-round loss to Gilbert Melendez. No one doubts his grit, but does he still have what it takes to fend off a hungry and fresh new blood? Jury opened as a clear favorite at -210, but has since slipped to -170, with #15 Sanchez the underdog now at +150. That’s a fairly close line, but the odds still suggest a rankings shake up is in the works. Let’s see what their numbers tell us.   Summary Stats:

Fightnomics Uber Tape Sanchez-Jury To see more Uber Tales of the Tape for this UFC fight card, check out MMA Oddsbreaker Premium.

  Tale of Tape Matchup: The Tale of Tape reveals two important differentials in this matchup: a strong Youth Advantage for Jury, and a Southpaw Advantage for Sanchez. Being 7 years younger than your opponent of a similar size normally leads to a pretty clear advantage overall, so I think Jury gets the edge on the tape. But the Southpaw stance that Sanchez employs has probably kept him in close fights in the past. Despite only being 32 years old, Sanchez has logged more UFC cage time than any fighter on the card at UFC 171. He’s tied for the most Fight of the Night Bonuses with Frankie Edgar at seven, and that means he’s been in some wars. When looking at how many total head strikes fighters have received in UFC bouts, Sanchez comes in 3rd all-time at 920, behind only BJ Penn (1,120) and Tito Ortiz (1,167). In “fighter years” (which aren’t quite as rapid as “dog years,” but close) Sanchez is one of the more grizzled veterans of the sport today. And that takes a toll.   Striking Matchup: Offensively, the two fighters here are pretty similar in terms of accuracy and pace. They both tend to match their opponents in standup volume, and both actually lag their division peers in landing power strikes. There are still some differences: Sanchez is better landing his jab, while Jury (to date) has had better knockdown power. It’s defensively that their statlines stand apart. Jury has 93% head strike avoidance while on his feet, which is absurdly high. Granted, there’s a smaller sample size here, but it’s an indicator of good defensive movement and technical awareness. On the flipside, Sanchez has poor head strike defense at just 67%, and he’s been dropped three times. Per exchange, Sanchez actually absorbs more damage than he gives out, which against an elusive striker like Jury could be the difference in the standup game here. It’s strange that a Southpaw like Sanchez would have this profile of poor accuracy and also poor defense, as normally this stance leads to a boost in striking metrics. It’s also notable that he swings for the fences by using a very small mix of jabs, meaning his overall brawling style doesn’t make much use of his stance advantage. However much damage Sanchez takes, however, he somehow keeps coming forward. That’s great for bonus money and crowd appreciation, but not so great for his long-term health. That style will eventually catch up with him and lead to vastly decreased knockdown resiliency, though it’s tough to predict exactly when that will happen. Jury has proved to be a power striker (yet), and Sanchez has walked through punishment plenty of times. Even if he’s on the worse end of the striking exchanges, Sanchez could force the fight to later rounds or a decision, or even wear Jury down enough to land a haymaker late in the fight. There’s lots of volatility here, but overall Jury has the potential to implement a technical strike and fade game on the feet, and is far more durable over the rounds.   Grappling Matchup: Sanchez got his start in wrestling, and has plenty of solid credentials on the mat. In UFC competition, however, it’s been more of a mixed bag. Sanchez attempts more takedowns than average (he has 133 attempts, more than anyone at UFC 171), but he also has very low takedown success. His stats are deflated by a zero for 27 performance against BJ Penn, but looking back through plenty of other fights, he often had a low takedown success rate. In terms of takedown defense, his 53% is a little below average. Once on the mat he has let opponents get up frequently, but had mixed success with various opponents. Surprisingly, Jury’s takedown defense rate is 0%, but that’s only against two total attempts. Despite being 0 for 2 on defense, Jury has used sweeps to reverse position on the mat, and has proven to be comfortable fighting on the ground. Overall he’s been in control on the ground 83% of the time, compared to Sanchez’s much more even control rate of 56%. In terms of submissions, Sanchez has a high attempt rate, but has yet to secure a tap in a UFC fight, while Jury made his UFC debut securing a submission finish. Neither man is likely to earn a submission, although Jury is more likely to be in control.   Reed’s Pick: Jury by Decision (click for latest MMA odds)   Reed’s Recommended Play:  It’s a tricky matchup given that we haven’t really seen enough of Jury to tell us his true style or best weapons. He appears to simply be very well rounded, and clearly a grinder. If anything, his wins over Ramsey Nijem and Mike Ricci might be a little underrated. But this will certainly be a big step up against a ranked opponent. Sanchez is still dangerous, and it would be crazy to overlook him. Depending on where the line ends up, Jury could be a good pick if it doesn’t cost too much juice. Despite being undefeated at 13-0, Jury still needs to make a statement, and this could be the fight where he does it. The over is currently a whopping -265 for 2.5 rounds, the under -205. The market appears to have taken a much stronger position on how long this fight will last, than on who will win it. These odds are a steep price to pay for the expectation that the durability of both fighters will lead to a decision, and therefore there’s better value on a straight up pick for Jury. I’m generally in agreement with the Over on this one, as Sanchez has incredibly only been finished once, and that was a fifth-round doctor stoppage due to a cut. A finish would be surprising for a lot of reasons, because either Jury loses his first ever fight or Sanchez is stopped for the first time inside three rounds. So for lower value, use the Over in a parlay.

Written by Reed Kuhn

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