Danny Castillo vs Charlie Brenneman – UFC 172 Statistical Analysis and Fight Pick

UFC 172 April 26, 2014 Lightweight Matchup: Danny Castillo vs Charlie Brenneman By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics   Big Picture:  The first ever UFC fight card ever to take place in Maryland will cap off the online prelims with two experienced wrestlers in the lightweight division. Danny Castillo is coming off a heartbreaker against Edson Barboza, a fight where Castillo almost pulled off a massive upset, only to get outpointed down the stretch in what many thought should have been scored a draw. Brenneman recently returned for a second tour in the UFC, but suffered a quick sunmission loss to Beneil Dariush. Both fighters have their backs against the wall, and that alone makes for an interesting story line. Castillo opened as a solid favorite, currently running -270 against underdog Brenneman at +230. That’s a pretty clear cut position, so we should check the stat-line to see if it’s justified.   Summary Stats:

Uber Tape Castillo-Brenneman 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 here is a total wash. Both fighters are in their early 30’s pushing the limits of the upper end of optimal fight years, but not quite at risk yet. Both fighters are also Orthodox, and the slight one-inch reach differential favoring Castillo is not significant enough to warrant an advantage. So on paper (at least, anthropometrically), these guys are a pretty even matchup. But prior performance is a key clue to future performance, so that’s where we’ll look next.   Striking Matchup: Neither fighter fancies themselves a striker, and they have both spent less time standing and trading than is average in the UFC. But given that both have good takedown defense, it’s worth seeing who has the technical edge as long as they do keep it on the feet, because their wrestling skills could force more time standing than usual. Statistically, Castillo gets a clean sweep of the standup metrics, although by slim margins. Castillo is the slightly more accurate striker who uses a higher pace, and also has much better defense. So for each exchange, he should be landing more often than his opponent. Perhaps the most glaring stat on the page is Brenneman’s history of knockdowns. He’s suffered five in his UFC career, more than other fighter competing at UFC 172. Not only is his head strike avoidance very low, he tends to get dropped when hit. Castillo’s knockdown defense is also a risk for him, but at least he tends to avoid more strikes. If it stays standing, Castillo has the ongoing edge per exchange, and is at slightly less risk of a knockout than Brenneman.   Grappling Matchup: Here’s where it gets tricky, as both fighters have some solid wrestling chops. Both fighters like to go for takedowns, but as is usually the case with wrestlers, their frequent attempts make opponents wary and the overall success rate is no better than average. Defensively, both fighters are very good at stuffing takedowns, and the net effect is that both men have generally been in control when on the mat. The smallest of differentials show up once they are already on the ground. Brenneman is more active in advancing position, while Castillo has been more active using strikes and submission attempts. Should the fight end up on the ground, it’s anyone’s guess as to who may have top control, and therefore who may using the position to win the round. In terms of finishing the fight, it’s more likely that the two wrestlers will reach a bit of a stalemate on the ground. But that doesn’t mean that one can’t score some points and win a round if they end up on top.   Reed’s Pick: Castillo to win (click for latest MMA odds)   Reed’s Recommended Play:  Castillo’s striking advantages and the close call on the mat prompt me to support his position as a favorite. Finding a clear path to victory for Brenneman is difficult. Castillo’s also a bigger threat to score a knockout, and on a round-per-round basis he should be the more efficient fighter scoring points. Whether it’s by decision or by TKO, Castillo is the more likely winner. But at nearly 3-to-1, that’s also a bit expensive. I’d still feel comfortable with Castillo straight up, and in small parlays with some of the big favorites on the main card. The Under of 2.5 rounds at +105 is close call, considering that lightweights finish about half of their fights overall. Given the defensive striking holes of Brenneman, however, that could be one path to an early finish. Castillo has suffered his share of knockdowns too, and both fighters have a below average chin rating. This must all be weighed against their preference for wrestling, which could conceivably lead to a slow grinder of a fight. An Under play at plus money would not be crazy knowing that both fighters have their backs against the wall in the UFC roster, but consider holding off and look for a much juicier (and specific) prop for Castillo by T/KO later in the week. Castillo Inside the Distance is only +120, so if you want to take that route, might as well hedge against a Brenneman upset by taking a similarly priced Under. “Fightnomics” the book is now available on Amazon!  Follow along on Twitter for the latest UFC stats and MMA analysis.

Written by Reed Kuhn

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