UFC 178 September 27, 2014 Lightweight Matchup: Jorge Masvidal vs James Krause By @fightnomics Big Picture: It’s fun when I get to look at preliminary fights because a fight card is so stacked that experienced and ranked fighters will be competing all over the program. So before we get to the main card at UFC 178, Jorge Masvidal and James Krause will face off in a matchup that could affect the division rankings. The #12 ranked lightweight Jorge Masvidal is clearly favored at -360, with the underdog James Krause +300. It’s a steep line, so let’s see if the numbers support it. Summary Stats:
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Tale of Tape Matchup: Both fighters are younger than average, with a negligible difference. But Masvidal, despite his young age, is far more experienced. He’s been competing professionally for over a decade, literally knocking guys out since 2003. However, Krause will have the reach advantage, as he has a long reach for the division The 2” difference isn’t big, but it’s significant. The frame size favors the underdog, but the experience definitely leans to Masvidal. Striking Matchup: There are some pros and cons here on the striking matchup for each man. Masvidal is more accurate with his power hand, but Krause (with his long reach) has a sneaky good jab. Masvidal has the edge in power, but Krause has a higher pace and better cage control. Defensively, Masvidal has the tougher chin, while Krause is slightly better at avoiding strikes. Each man has only lost once by TKO in his career, though they’ve both been dropped a few times. Generally it’s been Masvidal who prefers to stand and trade more, attempting fewer takedowns than average and spending more time standing at a distance. If the fight stays on the feet, Krause certainly has a chance to win some rounds. So what happens when the fighters close range? In his last fight against a very dangerous striker, Masvidal was hurt early but rallied to win a decision by utilizing his grappling and neutralizing the striking threat. Grappling Matchup: Here’s where we see a stronger pattern. Masvidal sweeps the important ground metrics, despite having fewer career submission wins. His stifling top control has resulted in him controlling opponents for 75% of his minutes on the mat. So despite choosing to go to the ground less frequently, his high takedown success rate, and even higher takedown defense mean that he’s usually the one owning minutes on the mat. On the flipside, Krause has had below average success getting fights to the mat. Against a fighter in Masvidal who has faced a lot of takedowns and stopped the vast majority of them, it seems unlikely that Krause can use his wrestling to win rounds. Meanwhile, Krause has only successfully defended one takedown in his UFC career to date, which doesn’t bode well against a solid wrestler like Masvidal. Both men utilize submissions, although Masvidal uses them slightly more frequently. However, should he find himself in top control, look for Masvidal to advance position with added strikes, which he utilizes much more frequently than Krause. It may not lead to a stoppage, but this type of game is very effective in winning rounds. Reed’s Pick: The Over (Masvidal by Decision) (click for latest MMA odds) Reed’s Recommended Play: Although the standup game is a close call possibly leaning towards the underdog, there’s a strong combination of factors favoring Masvidal on the mat. Should he utilize his wrestling in each round, he should clearly win a decision or maybe eventually get a choke. The odds are steep, so consider parlaying him with another justified favorite like Stephen Thompson, Dominick Cruz, or Conor McGregor to limit your risk. The Over of 2.5 rounds is -205, the Under +165. That’s a high price to pay for a decision, but it’s definitely the more likely scenario and presents a better price than picking Masvidal straight up. Both guys are tough to finish, and while Masvidal should have top control, his limited career wins by submissions may mean he has to grind this out for the judges. “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.