Ed Herman vs Rafael Natal – UFC Fight Night 40 Statistical Analysis and Fight Pick

UFC Fight Night 40 May 10, 2014 Middleweight Matchup: Ed Herman vs Rafael Natal By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics   Big Picture:  Two long-time veterans looking to rebound off losses are set to finish off the prelims this weekend when Rafael Natal faces Ed Herman. Both men took a step up in competition last November, and each lost in that outing. Natal is the ever so slight favorite, currently running -125 against Herman at -105. Let’s check the stat-line to see if it can’t sway us one way or the other in this virtual pick ‘em fight.   Summary Stats:

Uber Tape - FN 40 - Herman vs Natal 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 reveals a small 2-inch reach advantage for Natal, but perhaps more surprisingly, a slight Youth Advantage for him as well. Neither is a big deal, but I was personally surprised to see that Ed Herman was the older fighter. In “fighter years” these guys both are well beyond their true age, but if there’s any edge on the Tale of the Tape it slightly favors Natal.   Striking Matchup: The standup metrics also favor Natal, who is the longer fighter, has shown decent accuracy with his strikes, and has scored lots of knockdowns. Herman on the other hand has been very poor with his power striking accuracy (worst on the card). Both fighters like to press forward and engage, generally out-working opponents, which could mean so fun direct engagements right out of the gates. Defensively these two have very different holes in their game. Natal’s head strike avoidance is quite good, but his “chin” rating is very low because he’s suffered more knockdowns than any fighter on the card. Meanwhile Herman’s head strike avoidance is the lowest in UFC history for a fighter with at least one-hour of cage time, despite having only suffered one knockdown to date in the UFC. So one guy (Herman) takes beatings but doesn’t fall, while the other (Natal) is great at staying out of danger but crumbles when hit. It’s a strange combination that could lead to both fighters getting hurt on their feet.   Grappling Matchup: Both fighters like to attempt takedowns given their black belts in jiu jitsu, and both fighters win the majority of their fights on the mat. But Natal is probably the more seasoned grappler, and is much less likely than Herman to be submitted. While Herman’s takedown offense is above average, Natal’s takedown defense is very high. Both fighters like to attempt submissions, but defensively Herman is the one that is more vulnerable to tapping, having done so three times during his UFC career. Either fighter is a threat to control a round from the top, but predicting who lands the first takedown is tough. It depends on the first exchanges, and whether either fighter feels it necessary to change positions. Ultimately,   Reed’s Pick: Natal by Win (click for latest MMA odds)   Reed’s Recommended Play:  Given the very close odds, playing Natal to win at -125 is a reasonable play given his advantages over Herman. Natal has the striking advantages to out-point Herman, and has the ground experience to mitigate the threat of Herman’s submission attempts. One way or the other, Natal should edge this one out, and the fairly even moneyline makes it a lower risk play. He could set up a finish on the mat with his hands. The Under of 2.5 rounds at +145 is also a nice bet, that hedges against Herman finding Natal’s vulnerable chin at some point early on. There are holes in both fighters’ profiles, and despite lots of decisions on their records, plus money for a stoppage seems a good play for middleweights. It could be either fighter dropping their opponent, or it could be Natal earning a submission. “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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