Hector Lombard vs Jake Shields – UFC 171 Statistical Analysis and Fight Pick

UFC 171 March 15, 2014 Welterweight Matchup: #12 Hector Lombard vs #6 Jake Shields By @Fightnomics   Big Picture:  The first pairing out of three ranked welterweights on the UFC 171 card pits #6 versus #12, when former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields meets former Bellator champion Hector Lombard. Both fighters will compete in a division below where they won their titles in other promotions, but perhaps this is an unofficial eliminator bout for who was the 2nd best promotion back in 2010? Despite being ranked lower, Lombard is currently a -225 favorite and the former UFC title challenger Shields is the underdog at +175. There’s already been a lot of line movement toward Lombard since opening, so let’s see if it’s moving in the right direction.   Summary Stats:

Fightnomics Uber Tape Lombard-Shields 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 that this fight matches the two oldest competitors on the UFC 171 card. Both fighters are now on the wrong side of age 25, but have similar wingspans. Lombard is the shorter and stockier fighter, but he will have a reach advantage. Overall, there’s a slight edge to Lombard here.   Striking Matchup: The striking stats are the clearest mismatch here. Shields is an exceptional grappler, but his striking game is more about volume and setting up takedowns than about effectiveness. He’s also been dropped three times, and has never scored a knockdown himself. His power head striking accuracy of 12% is the lowest among all active UFC fighters with at least 45 minutes of fight time. But he’s made up for it with volume, outworking opponents by 75% in standup striking which has helped him edge some close decisions. Lombard, despite his Judo background, appears to prefer to stand and trade. A look at his highlight reel will you why: he has a lot of knockout power in his hands. He has above average accuracy, and generally works at a higher pace than his opponents. He has also scored many knockdowns while never having been knocked down himself. On a per exchange basis, Shields coming forward will not work well against Lombard’s accurate power striking, and neither will Shields’ age and knockdown history. There’s no question that Shields will have to be more conservative in the standup game, and will definitely be looking to get this to the ground.   Grappling Matchup: It’s a stylistic class of Judo versus jiu-jitsu, and both fighters are excellent at their trades. Shields recently went to Brazil and defeated Demian Maia, primarily with the help of his “American style” jiu jitsu that heavily leverages sound wrestling. So the question here is: can Shields get the fight to the ground? Shields attempts very frequent takedowns while on his feet, averaging one attempt for every minute standing. But his success rate is a very low 23%, as opponents are usually ready for this tactic, and don’t have to worry as much about his striking game. Given the background of Lombard, and his 79% takedown defense to date (much of that was at middleweight), the numbers lean towards Lombard to keep the fight standing. In Shields’s recent fights against experienced grapplers, his overall success rate has been even lower than his historical average. If Shields does get the fight to the ground, it’s a different fight altogether. He advances position often, and has a robust arsenal of submissions. Shields is also excellent at maintaining control on the mat, meaning he likely only needs one takedown to secure a round on the cards. Among his impressive resume of wins is even one over Dan Henderson at Middleweight in Strikeforce. Yes, that Dan Henderson! Given the importance of the takedown battleground in this matchup, the first minutes of the first round should reveal how this fight will go down.   Reed’s Pick: Lombard by TKO (click for latest MMA odds)   Reed’s Recommended Play:  Despite murkier backgrounds, the fight has the ingredients of a striker versus grappler matchup. The lean is towards Lombard to keep things standing long enough to do damage with his hands and set up a finish. There’s still some risk given Shields’ ability to win rounds through his controlling style of grappling. But that still requires him to close the distance, and Lombard only needs one blast to end the night. Lombard is a reasonable straight up pick, but there’s already been quite a bit of line movement diminishing this return. You can’t lay too much juice when a crafty and proven veteran like Shields is in the cage. The over is currently -165 for 1.5 rounds, the under +125. The Under clearly favors the scenario of Lombard stuffing the takedown and landing some powerful shots early on, that are simply too much for Shields. Plus money on this scenario may actually make a better play than Lombard straight up depending on where lines settle. The longer it goes, the more likely it is that Shields has controlled the position of the fight and can grind out a victory.

Written by Reed Kuhn

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