UFC Fight Night 55 November 7, 2014 Light Heavyweight Matchup: Guto Inocente vs Anthony Perosh By @fightnomics Big Picture: In a rare Light Heavyweight matchup relegated to the prelims at UFC Fight Night 55, there’s the potential for a highlight reel finish between two relative newcomers with very contrasting styles. Inocente opened as a mild favorite at -185, but has since moved up to -210 over the underdog Perosh who is now at +175. Perosh is the more experienced MMA fighter, and the much longer UFC veteran. Inocente was recently a Strikeforce kickboxing specialist who took a long injury layoff before debuting at Heavyweight in the UFC. Although the sample size is limited on Inocente, his very clear style of fighting is worth evaluating for his UFC debut at Light Heavyweight. Summary Stats:
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Tale of Tape Matchup: It’s a clean sweep on the traditional metrics of the Tale of the Tape for the Brazilian striker. He’ll drop a weight class and get a slight reach and stance advantage over Perosh, but more importantly a huge Youth Advantage. At 42 years old, the hometown Perosh is currently the third oldest active UFC fighter behind Dan Henderson and Cung Le. An extreme differential over more than a decade confers a big advantage for the younger fighter, and while Inocente may be a long way from home, that benefit is surely supporting his odds as a favorite. Striking Matchup: The striking metrics may be limited in sample size, but no one will argue that the Brazilian kickboxing champion Inocente is the more dangerous one on the feet. He has shown diverse striking attacks, lots of spinning kicks and fists, and has a career full of K-1 rules championships. Half of his career MMA wins came early by strikes. Perosh is not lacking in power, as he has scored two knockdowns in his UFC career despite somewhat lackluster volume and accuracy. However, those knockdowns came against grappling specialist Vinny Magalhaes who is no longer in the UFC, and the second was all the way back at UFC 66 in a loss to Christian Wellisch. Far more of Perosh’s wins have come by submission, and while he stands and trades with the much younger striker Inocente, he will definitely be at risk. At the age of 42, Perosh has now taken five career T/KO losses, and has been dropped three times in the UFC. In his most recent outing he suffered a lopsided beating at the hands of Ryan Bader that somehow wasn’t mercifully stopped early by the referee. When he was still on the better side of age 40, it took just one punch from Ryan Jimmo to drop Perosh, with the fight ending in just seven total seconds. These are big risk factors, made even bigger against a kickboxing specialist. However, it’s interesting to note that Inocente was knocked out in his UFC debut, albeit at Heavyweight by an opponent known for big KO power. This is more fuel for an early finish, one way or the other. All said, expect Inocente to use more volume and lots of range on his kicks to keep Perosh at bay and on the defensive. Grappling Matchup: But while Perosh is likely outgunned on the feet, he’s got legit credentials on the mat. His nickname the “Hippo” apparently stems from his stifling top game, and he boasts numerous grappling awards. One risk if Inocente is using a lot of kicks will be that Perosh might grab one to get the Brazilian to the ground. Perosh definitely attempts frequent takedowns, but his success rate is low. Once there, he does advance position well and employs submission attempts quickly and frequently, finishing two UFC opponents by rear naked choke. Perosh has also finished with strikes on the ground, meaning a kickboxer put on his back may be at risk multiple ways. However, Inocente also has some BJJ in his arsenal, and shouldn’t be a single-dimension striker that Perosh can easily take advantage of on the ground. Time on the ground does favor Perosh, but it also may delay the inevitable after they stand back up. Reed’s Pick: Fight Does Not Go the Distance (Inocente by TKO) (click for latest MMA odds) Reed’s Recommended Play: There are some extremes in this matchup, and that bodes well for an early finish. Inocente is a dangerous striker facing a 42-year old who has been KO’d several times in his past. The ingredients are ripe for another, and that has me leaning towards an Inocente TKO victory. Inocente knows Perosh will want to get this to the mat, but only needs to catch the Aussie once to put him away. However, based on Perosh’s dangerous submission game (and apparent Hippo strength) that has neutralized other experienced strikers, Inocente is still at risk. All these factors make a Fight Does Not Go the Distance play safe parlay material, even at -400. For a more direct play, take Inocente by TKO or ITD at -155, but only a limited one given the very low visibility into Inocente. The Under of 1.5 rounds is -150, the Over +120. Having to lay juice on a 1.5 round Under is very rare. In fact, it’s something you may not see again until Ronda Rousey enters the cage. But Light Heavyweights do finish a lot more fights than most, and the combination of age and dangerously contrasting styles boosts the likelihood here. Still, only 1.5 rounds is not a lot of time, so don’t chase the Under or use it in parlays if it runs any steeper, as each man may be playing conservative at first to avoid the other’s best weapons. Both fighters may gas in later rounds, also making them more vulnerable, so a finish is still possible even if it goes beyond the mid-point. “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.