UFC Fight Night 51 September 13, 2014 Lightweight Matchup: Gleison Tibau vs Piotr Hallmann By @fightnomics Big Picture: One of the most experienced veterans of the UFC’s core lightweight division is facing off with a flashy newcomer from one of the UFC’s newest markets (Poland) when Gleison Tibau faces Piotr Hallmann. The home-cage fighter Tibau has climbed to a -230 favorite, with Hallmann the underdog at +170. The Brazilian has been competitive for a long time in the UFC, mainly going to decisions, while the Polish challenger has rarely ever seen the scorecards. Who should win, and how? What do the stats say? Summary Stats:
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Tale of Tape Matchup: The traditional metrics on the Tale of the Tape aren’t much help here explaining why Tibau is a clear favorite. However, Tibau is a Southpaw, which will cause a performance drop in his opponent in overall striking effectiveness. Otherwise, Hallmann is actually slightly longer and a little younger, although neither of these differentials is significant. Tibau may only be 31, though much older in “fight years.” Overall the tape here is a wash, or a slight lean towards Tibau thanks to his awkward stance. Striking Matchup: The striking metrics appear to be pretty even, but not when strength of schedule plays in. Tibau, with 22 UFC fights to his credit, has fought the who’s who of the division’s ranks, including many highly ranked fighters. He made his UFC debut at Welterweight against Nick Diaz back in 2006. Since then, Tibau has gone 14-8 in the UFC, with his only losses coming to higher ranked opponents. Against this opposition Tibau has performed at a competitive average in many metrics, with stats right at the division benchmark for accuracy, defense, chin, and pace. He comes in a little low on Knockdown rate, which is surprising considering how much muscle mass he famously brings into the cage. Hallmann has been impressive offensively, with solid accuracy and pace, but defensively he has had poor strike avoidance and was dropped early in his first fight (although he went on to win). When these two face each other, we should see Hallmann pushing the pace, with Tibau landing more effectively. Factor in the Southpaw advantage for Tibau, and that might be enough to have him landing the harder strikes early on. Given all that, Hallmann may want this on the mat, where he has already been successful locking submissions in both his UFC wins. But can he get it there? Grappling Matchup: Unfortunately, Hallmann is facing one of the best defensive wrestlers in the UFC. Tibau has the highest takedown defense in lightweight division history, and is tied for 4th all-time in the UFC behind the likes of Renan Barao, Jon Jones, and Tyron Woodley. That’s very good company, and it’s not based on a small sample size as Tibau has well over 200 minutes of Octagon experience and has faced over 60 takedown attempts from opponents. The ground stats suggest Hallmann likes grappling, and his fight history is filled with submission finishes. But getting the fight to the ground doesn’t seem likely against Tibau. In fact, Tibau is much more likely to be the one attempting takedowns (he already has well over 100 attempts in the UFC alone), and has a good success rate. His offensive wrestling and division best takedown defense has led to him being in a position of control for 92% of all his minutes spent on the mat. It’s difficult to say how good Hallmann might be based on the limited sample size for him, but there are enough clues on Tibau’s side of the Uber Tape to say that he will be very stiff competition if he uses his wrestling effectively. Reed’s Pick: Tibau by Decision (click for latest MMA odds) Reed’s Recommended Play: With edges to Tibau, he makes a good favorite play, although the price is already steep and climbing. He may be used in parlays to mitigate exposure, which could also push the price further. There’s still the danger of Hallmann’s finishing prowess, and perhaps his metrics will hold even against the higher level competition – so don’t play if the price rises too far. But the numbers lean towards Tibau in enough places here, and he has all the tools necessary to win a stifling decision. The Under of 2.5 rounds is +170, the Over -230. Based on historicals for the lightweight division, the value is on the Under. But based on the analysis and likely conservative attack and wrestling from Tibau, the Over seems more likely an outcome. Ultimately, if the prop play for Tibau by decision is at decent plus money, that could be the best value play. “Fightnomics” the book is now available on Amazon! Follow along on Twitter for the latest UFC stats and MMA analysis, or on Facebook, if you prefer.