Tim Means vs Neil Magny – UFC Fight Night 40 Statistical Analysis and Fight Pick

UFC Fight Night 40 May 10, 2014 Welterweight Matchup: Tim Means vs Neil Magny By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics   Big Picture:  Tim Means was pushed out of the UFC after a 2-2 stint in the highly competitive Lightweight division, but promptly moved up to Welterweight and scored two first-round knockouts in Legacy FC. He’ll return to the UFC this week for a second tour, this time competing in the heavier division. In the opposing corner is Neil Magny, a giant of a Welterweight with a similar 2-2 UFC record. Means opened as a solid favorite, currently running -270 against underdog Magny at +230. Let’s check the stat-line to see if it’s justified or if Magny is a live underdog.   Summary Stats:

Uber Tape - FN 40 - Magny vs Means 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 is our first clue as to the advantages that make Magny a live dog. At Lightweight, Tim Means was huge and definitely used his size against opponents. Even at Welterweight he’s quite tall, but no match for the frame size of Neil Magny. With a whopping 81-inch reach (according to FightMetric), Magny is the rangiest Welterweight in UFC history. He’ll have a big reach advantage over Means, even if Magny’s number is off. Magny is also the younger fighter, but the 3.4 year differential isn’t too significant. Overall, we see a live underdog based on anthropometrics alone.   Striking Matchup: On raw statistical metrics, everything Means can do Magny has done slightly better. Magny is the more active and accurate striker, and also has the better defense. But the power metric of Knockdown Rate favors Means, who scored 3 knockdowns during his prior UFC run at Lightweight. Punch-for-punch, Means dropped opponents at a higher than average rate for his division, and he’s tallied 15 career striking finishes. Two of his UFC knockdowns came in his first round destruction of Justin Salas. Meanwhile, Magny has only two career striking finishes from his early regional days, and has not looked very threatening with his power while in the UFC. Means is definitely the greater threat with his power striking, but oddly he hasn’t used it that often. In fact, Means and Magny both utilize the jab far more than is average, so the threat of a slugfest or sudden knockout is diminished here. We’ve seen Means look very aggressive, but he’s also been lulled into dirtier fights that took away his edge. Given the range differential, this all bodes well for Magny to stay out of danger. We’ve seen him eat some hard shots after dropping his hands, but he’s survived well and is still young with no prior knockout losses. He also has his ground game to fall back on if he gets into trouble. Then there’s the clinch game: nearly half of all minutes that Magny is in the cage are spent in the clinch. His size could help him here if he uses this position to put Means against the fence to nullify his striking threat. It’s also risky as it doesn’t necessarily win a lot of points on the cards if he had to eat punches on the way in. The only way Magny wins rounds on his feet is if he steps on the pedal and gets in and out quickly as he did in his most recent performance against Gasan Umalatov. There’s some back and forth factors here, but definitely a few ingredients that say Magny is game to survive on the feet, and maybe even steal a round if he can mount a higher volume attack.   Grappling Matchup: Magny brings grappling skills that have led to a solid performance so far in the UFC. Means, on the other hand, is less proven on the mat. He has yet to land a single takedown during a UFC fight, mainly because he only has one attempt to date. Compounding Means’s risk here is that his prior UFC losses came against experienced grapplers (Lightweights Danny Castillo and Jorge Masvidal), so this aspect of the fight could again favor Magny to stifle Means with wrestling. Should Means end up on top, Magny appears very comfortable using his long limbs to fight off his back. It’s hard to predict what will happen should Means get the upper hand on the mat, but given the steep odds favoring him and Magny’s experience in grappling, we’re seeing more clues that this won’t be a layup for the favorite.   Reed’s Pick: Means by Decision (click for latest MMA odds)   Reed’s Recommended Play:  Read carefully. While Means should be the aggressor here and should also have the better hands in the standup to earn a decision, I think Magny’s moneyline seems favorable at +230. He’ll likely use his range to stay out of danger and his grappling to stifle his Means. That gives Magny a good chance to steal at least one round, and possibly enough to grind out the decision. I certainly don’t expect to see a Fight of the Night bonus awarded here, but this isn’t as clear a victory for Means as the odds imply. The Over of 2.5 rounds at +120 is a better play that assumes Magny makes a tough challenge for Means, win or lose. Means’s best chance to win is with his striking, but it will be an uphill battle here and playing his T/KO finish prop at +150 is still risky given Magny’s historical durability. A prop play on Magny by Decision is very juicy at +450, as that’s the best path to victory for the upset. If a Rounds Prop comes out allowing you to bet that Magny wins at least one round on the cards, that would also be a solid play at plus money. “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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