Cezar Ferreira vs Andrew Craig – UFC Fight Night 44 Statistical Analysis and Fight Pick

UFC Fight Night 44 June 28, 2014 Middleweight Matchup: Cezar Ferreira vs Andrew Craig By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics   Big Picture:  Two fighters hoping to scratch the surface of the crowded Middleweight ranks will face off on the main card of UFC Fight Night 44. Both guys are coming off brutal losses, but only one can rebound with a win. Texan Andrew Craig will have the homestate advantage welcoming Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira to the land of questionable regulatory control. The current line favors Ferreira at -190, with the comeback on the underdog Craig +165. The line is fairly close, so who gets the edge in the statistics department?   Summary Stats:

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

  Tale of Tape Matchup: Both guys are in their prime, but there’s a significant reach differential favoring the aptly named “Mutante” Ferreira. In addition to having a reach much longer than the division’s average, Ferriera also employs a Southpaw stance, making for several Tape factors that give an edge to the favorite here.   Striking Matchup: The standup matchup is interesting in that both men have similar profiles. They have above average accuracy, but also very poor head strike avoidance. That could mean a slobberknocker is in the works, with a high rate of landed punches. Ferreira has used his long reach to outwork opponents on the feet in volume, and also has the higher Knockdown Rate. And although his strike defense is worse, he’s withstood blows a little bit better than Craig despite being wobbled a few times and dropped cold once. That “Chin” rating is the key weakness on Craig’s statline. He’s already been dropped four times, with a punch for punch Knockdown Defense rating that is officially the worst on the entire card. Craig wants to avoid becoming the Charlie Brenneman of the division. Given the tendencies of both men to eat a punch and the accuracy of their offensive striking, the standup exchanges could determine this fight quickly. The edges lean toward Ferreira, who has the reach, precision, and power to require few clean shots to end the night for Craig. Alternatively, Ferreira’s forward-pressing style could also walk him into a nice counter by Craig.  Ferreira’s KO loss to Dolloway was just three months ago, which is a fairly short turnaround for a bad head trauma. The longer is stays standing, the more likely it will be that someone is going to fall down. It just seems more likely to be Craig.   Grappling Matchup: The ground game also leans towards Mutante, who has gotten the better of his opponents on the mat to date. The BJJ black belt has a pedigree edge over Craig, who only has one career submission victory. Ferreira’s grappling arsenal favors guillotine chokes – likely thanks to his freakishly long arms – which ended two fights in his Ultimate Fighter Brazil tournament, as well as one more in the UFC since. Although Craig doesn’t get the check marks on the Uber Tape, he has certainly exhibited hustle in the Octagon. His takedown defense is above average, but that hasn’t stopped opponents from getting him to the ground. Offensively he has advanced position often, but has yet to use submissions and was most recently tapped by Luke Barnatt after being dropped twice. That’s definitely a scenario that could happen again. Neither man attempts takedowns frequently, but if it goes to the ground it’s more likely to be Ferreira who is in control, and also Ferreira attempting the submissions.   Reed’s Pick: Ferreira Inside the Distance (click for latest MMA odds)   Reed’s Recommended Play:  We could see a back and forth matchup on the feet, and a potential wrestler-jiu-jitsu stalemate on the mat. But the fact remains that both guys are fully capable of being wobbled, and will also swing for the fences. Throw in some additional submission potential for the Brazilian, and there’s lots of ways this could end early – especially if they stand and bang right out of the gates. The performance metrics and Tale of the Tape slightly lean towards Ferreira for the win, but is it enough to pay for the juice and make up for his own vulnerabilities? The total has appropriately been set at only 1.5 rounds, with the Under at +145 presenting a little more value in my opinion than the Over at -175. If it turns into a stalemate wrestling match, we’ll all be disappointed, but with this much power and susceptibility to knockdowns in the cage, things should be over early. The best play on the total is a prop that the Fight Won’t Go the Three Round Distance at -165. This allows a lot more room for things to develop than the 1.5 round total, and still presents a reasonable price for those who are hesitant to pick a side. “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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