Antonio Silva vs Frank Mir – UFC Fight Night 61 Statistical Analysis and Pick

UFC Fight Night 61 February 22nd, 2015 Heavyweight Matchup: Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva vs Frank Mir By @fightnomics   Big Picture:  The main event from Brazil this weekend may pit two fighters who haven’t see a “W” in a combined seven fights, but most would agree it’s an interesting matchup with some career-salvaging (or even career-ending) potential. Antonio Silva has been knocked out twice in his last three fights, with his only saving grace being a slobberknocker draw against Mark Hunt that was overturned after Silva tested high for testosterone. Frank Mir is also on a losing streak, suffering two TKOs and two decision losses. That’s over five years combined since their last wins. But at the end of the day we have two stars who are still ranked in their division: one a former champion, and the other a native and former title contender. No one expects this one to go the distance, so we’re going to watch to see which Heavyweight rebounds from tough times in the post-TRT era, and possibly see a big Heavyweight finish. The Brazilian Silva is the #8 ranked Heavyweight and a -290 favorite over the #13 ranked former champ Mir at +245. Analyzing Heavyweights is tricky business due to the volatility of their chins, so let’s see how they stack up on paper.   Summary Stats:

Uber Tape FN61 Bigfoot-Mir 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 immediately that we’re dealing with some veterans of the fight game. Both men are on the wrong side of 35, with a combined 71 years of age between them. Silva will have a reach advantage over Mir, but it’s not huge, as both men are longer than the average Heavyweight. Silva reach edge is countered by Mir’s Southpaw stance. Overall it’s a wash here.   Striking Matchup: These may be Heavyweights, but both men hit even harder than their plus-sized peers. Neither is especially accurate with his hands, though notably Silva gets an edge with his jab. There’s no shortage of power between them, but interestingly, it’s actually Mir who has the higher Knockdown Rate. Should these two engage in a slugfest, Mir’s advantage is boosted by his better strike avoidance and a chin that, though dinged plenty of times, appears more durable than the Heavyweight average. These numbers may be surprising, but they make the standup matchup very even, and give the underdog Mir a solid chance at an upset via strikes. Both fighters are somewhat tentative in their pace, so there may be a lot of feeling out at first, and overall they operate at a slow and steady pace unlike like the possible higher-paced striking duel in the co-main event. Anything could happen here with the amount of power (and age and experience) in the standup exchanges, which suggests the odds should be a little more even than they currently are.   Grappling Matchup: In the UFC record books, Frank Mir has more submission attempts than any other Heavyweight at 21 attempts. That’s 2.3 submission attempts per 15-minutes of fight time, ranking him as the 8th most active submission artist of all-time in a division that typically sees fewer submissions than any other. Mir’s grappling highlight reel includes a kneebar of Brock Lesnar, and two arm-breaking performances against former champions Tim Sylvia and Antonio Rodrigo Noguera. To say that Mir’s ground game is dangerous would be understatement. But he’s up against a massive force in Bigfoot. Silva’s top game and ground and pound ruined the legendary Fedor Emelianenko, and his stats reveal he is hard to escape from on the mat once he’s on top. Silva averages 2.2 position advances per takedown and over two minutes of control time once one top. However, the Uber tape shows that Silva has spent more time on his back than on top, and that’s partly because he’s run into the champ Cain Velasquez on multiple occasions. Mir on the other hand, has been ground and pounded before, meaning when he doesn’t get the submission, he is vulnerable there. This aspect of the matchup is just as dangerous for both fighters as on the feet, but also somewhat even, boiling down to: Mir’s submission game versus Silva’s ground and pound. Silva’s BJJ credentials should keep him mostly out of trouble, but the crafty Mir has submitted better grapplers. There’s more give and take on the mat, again suggesting the odds should be closer than they are. If we see Silva’s top game early it could be a hint as to how this fight plays out. It will probably cost Mir rounds, but there will be the constant danger of a finish throughout. Silva’s advantage in control   Reed’s Pick: The Over, Mir to Win (Click for latest MMA odds)    Reed’s Recommended Play:  The stats are mixed, and with Heavyweights the picture is always a rough estimate that can be changed by a single undefended punch. But the nearly three-to-one juice on the Brazilian is just too much, so once the juice drops or if any more action comes in on Silva, a small play on Mir is reasonable. Both men are coming off testosterone, so that adds even more volatility to the mix, and therefore more uncertainty, and that also means betting the other way. It’s a “dog or pass” situation. The limit is 1.5 rounds, with the Over currently -105 and -125 for the Under. That’s a pretty aggressive hint that this fight won’t last long. But laying the juice (even a little) for under a 1.5 round limit is risky, especially because the underdog is durable. If you pick the upset, also consider an Over play at nearly even money, as the initial feeling out process or a Silva ground and pound strategy could extend the fight. Even if Mir is losing, Silva isn’t a fast finisher – all the more reason this fight should at least see the second round. What’s more interesting is the Mir by TKO prop currently at +500. In the statistical battle of chins and knockout power, the numbers for both lean towards Mir, so this outcome isn’t as unlikely as the odds suggest.   “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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