Tony Ferguson vs Gleison Tibau – UFC 184 Statistical Analysis and Fight Pick

UFC 184 February 28th, 2015 Lightweight Matchup: Tony Ferguson vs Gleison Tibau By @fightnomics Leading off the main card at UFC 184 is a fight between two talented Lightweights who are each striving for a spot among the rankings in the UFC’s deepest division. Veteran Gleison Tibau has faced the who’s who of the UFC dating back nearly a decade. By comparison, Tony Ferguson, who won The Ultimate Fighter Season 13 in 2011, must seem like a fresh face. Either way, only one will extend their win streak to possibly push their way into the top 15 and a boost in Reebok money. Ferguson is currently a -220 favorite over Tibau at +180. This will be a contrast of styles, so let’s look to the detailed performance stats to see if we can see how this matchup might play out. Summary Stats:

Uber Tape 184 Tibau-Ferguson 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 presents a surprise in the very first row: Tibau and Ferguson are the same age! That’s not to say they’re equal in “fight years,” as Tibau has more than twice (43) the professional MMA fights as Ferguson (20). Tibau is a physical monster, but time (and punches) take their toll. Ferguson has a lengthy five-inch reach advantage, but Tibau will fight Southpaw. Overall, the combinations of factors here lean Ferguson.   Striking Matchup: Ultimately, this could play out as a striker versus grappler matchup. Ferguson spends 78% of his cage time on his feet, and with the big reach advantage will definitely prefer to keep this fight primarily standing. Ferguson’s style of striking is mostly boxing, but he has brought some more exotic attacks in the cage recently. Frankly, he may want to shelf the cartwheel kicks here though, as he’ll want to keep his distance from Tibau’s excellent wrestling. Ferguson definitely has power in his hands, and his higher than average Knockdown Rate doesn’t even reflect the jaw he broke of Aaron Riley, who somehow remained standing and finished the round before an injury stoppage. Tibau has good striking metrics, but he is occasionally hesitant and works a much slower overall pace (9.5 attempts/min) than Ferguson (14.2 attempts/min) while trading from a distance. Tibau is also notoriously muscled, and apparently carrying that weight doesn’t do him any favors as the fight wears on (just ask Joe Rogan). If this fight stays standing, Ferguson should be the faster and more damaging striker, and he could even hurt Tibau enough to set up a finish.   Grappling Matchup: That all assumes Ferguson can stay off his back, something he hasn’t always been good at despite having good takedown defense. The problem for him is that on the few occasions he allowed a takedown, he stayed there long enough to probably lose a round. Ferguson rarely attempts takedowns of his own, so overall his ground control share is way below average. This is a hole he’s clearly trying to fix since his fight with Danny Castillo that came to a very close split decision. Ferguson does have a wrestling background, it just doesn’t stack up to Tibau’s when it’s time to step into the cage. Gleison Tibau is on the UFC record books for takedowns landed (#1 among active UFC fighters), as well as takedown defense (#4 among active UFC fighters). His wrestling has saved him in a number of close fights, and he’s 5-2 specifically in fights ending by Split Decision. He’s not much of a finisher, but he knows how to do just enough to seal a round when he needs it. That mentality contrasts with the risk-taking Ferguson. This fight ultimately will be a test of Ferguson’s fight IQ, to see if he knows where he can beat Tibau, and is able to keep the fight in a favorable position. If he doesn’t do damage with his hands, and if things are close while standing but he allows one or two takedowns by Tibau, the judges could be swayed. So the ground game presents the biggest risk for the favorite, but not risk that can’t be overcome.   Reed’s Pick: Ferguson to Win (Click for latest MMA odds)    Reed’s Recommended Play:  The statline looks close, but key advantages standing make Ferguson the more likely fighter to do damage on the feet, assuming his takedown defense holds up. The current price of a straight play on Ferguson is still reasonable, but not for long if it rises. If too many people throw Ferguson into parlays, consider a smaller play on the props with Ferguson by TKO (which could happen late), or a much bigger payout upset prop on Tibau by decision. The Over of 2.5 rounds at -155 assumes that Tibau turns this into a grinder. If the Under drifts higher than the current +125, that’s probably where the value lies. But Ferguson by KO is the real finishing threat, so for a smaller, more specific play look for a KO prop at closer to +200.   “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. Want to put your knowledge to the test in Fantasy MMA for cash? Use the code “FIGHTNOMICS” for an immediate 25% deposit bonus at Kountermove.

Written by Reed Kuhn

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