Nate Marquardt vs Brad Tavares – UFC 182 Statistical Analysis and Fight Pick

UFC 182 January 3, 2015 Middleweight Matchup: Nate Marquardt vs #15 Brad Tavares By @fightnomics   Big Picture:  When Nate Marquardt returned to Middleweight after back-to-back knockout losses, many people wrote him off. In his next fight in New Zealand against Kiwi slugger James Te-Huna, Marquardt was a sizable underdog, but looked ferocious in his first round submission upset win. Marquardt was once a challenger to Anderson Silva, the whispered potential future successor to Georges St-Pierre, and then a Welterweight Strikeforce champion. But highlight reel losses can change a lot. And so here is Nate Marquardt, the long-time MMA veteran who has fought the who’s who of several divisions, and the market isn’t quite sure what to make of him. Across the cage is Brad Tavares, who at one point was 7-1 in the UFC against mid-tier competition, but is now coming off two straight losses after facing ranked opponents. Each man needs a win to reestablish himself as relevant in the division’s long-term picture, and to certify that they belong among the division’s best. Only one can do it. The unranked Marquardt opened as exactly pick em’ and has risen ever so slightly to -135 over #15 ranked Tavares at +115. The market is torn here, but slightly supporting Marquardt in what are the closest betting odds of not just the main card this weekend, but the entire UFC 182 event. Let’s see if the numbers can sway us one way or the other.   Summary Stats:

Uber Tape UFC182 Marquardt-Tavares To see more Uber Tales of the Tape for this UFC fight card, check out MMA Oddsbreaker Premium.

  Tale of Tape Matchup: The traditional tale of the tape reminds us that Nate Marquardt is truly one of the sports most experienced veterans. With nearly 50 professional fights, he is every bit of the nearly 36 years he brings into the cage. And that’s definitely material here, as age and experience are a contributing factor to declining knockdown resiliency, which has been his recent downfall. Tavares will have a nine-year Youth Advantage, and a slightly larger frame, giving him a big edge on this portion of the tape. But the performance metrics tell a different story.   Striking Matchup: The striking matchup is close, with each fighter emphasizing different strengths that will represent their best path to victory. Marquardt gets the technical edges in striking; he’s much better in accuracy and Knockdown Rate, and just a little better in defense. But what Tavares lacks in accuracy and power he makes up for with volume, perhaps one reason he has taken so many close decisions. The standup battle will be Marquardt’s more dangerous striking versus the pace and cage control of Tavares. Overall, Marquardt has been fairly effective and efficient in the past, but on the feet Tavares averages over 13 strike attempts per minute compared to just 8.7 for Marquardt. That could win points on the cards for Tavares, even if Marquardt is connecting with the more accurate and harder punches. This is how he dropped a decision to Yushin Okami in a number one contender bout. The key stat that Marquardt doubters will point to is the Knockdown Defense (“Chin”) metric showing that he is below average in his durability. But looking across the cage it turns out that Tavares is similarly vulnerable, and has taken three knockdowns at a young age already. Given that Tavares is simply not an aggressive power striker, Marquardt’s biggest weakness is mitigated here. So even standing, Marquardt should still win the exchanges. He’ll need to do clear damage or at least pick up his pace however, in order to win rounds on striking alone.   Grappling Matchup: The ground matchup is more clearly in the veteran’s favor. Marquardt’s grappling is top notch with numerous black belts and accolades, and his submission offense has earned him 16 wins, more than any other finish method. That’s a lot to deal with for the younger and less experienced Tavares. Tavares is unlikely to end up controlling the fight on the ground. His takedown offense is below average, while Marquardt has historically solid takedown defense. And while Tavares also has good defense, Marquardt’s offensive wrestling is much better, meaning he us more likely to end up in control on the mat. That bodes well for Marquardt, who could nullify the standup threat and attempt to exploit Tavares at his weakest. At the very least, Marquardt is more capable of mixing in wrestling o help seal rounds. The grappling edge is strong for Marquardt, which in addition to his slight edge in standup more than makes up for the big tale of the tape disadvantage. The prices here reflect the uncertainties involved, but Marquardt getting another win at Middleweight seems a likely scenario one way or the other.   Reed’s Pick: Marquardt to Win/Fight Does Not Go the Distance Click for latest MMA odds    Reed’s Recommended Play:  While I do see some risks should the fight stay standing, the price on the favorite here is justifiable for a straight play on Marquardt. He has only lost by vicious TKO, or by hesitancy against a high-paced striker with good takedown defense. Tavares is close to the later profile, but has yet to prove himself to be top-tier, and so Marquardt gets the edge on a closely priced line. More importantly, we also see a lot of finishing potential, so consider totals and props as well. The limit of 1.5 rounds is another tight one, with the Over at -195, the Under at +165. The limit is tight, but the Over price is expensive. With Marquardt’s skillset, as well as his liability, the Under at good plus money makes a reasonable small play. For parlay material go with Fight Does Not Go the Distance at just -135 to allow more time for a punch to land or for Tavares to make a grappling mistake. For a value prop, consider Marquardt Inside the Distance at +160.   “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.

Written by Reed Kuhn

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