UFC 185 March 14th, 2015 Lightweight Matchup: Ross Pearson vs Sam Stout By @fightnomics Wrapping up the preliminary card is a potentially fun striker’s duel in the Lightweight division when Ross Pearson takes on Sam Stout. Both men are seasoned UFC veterans but are each coming off of tough knockout losses. These guys put on fun fights though, so pairing them here is a fitting finale to the preliminary card at such a stacked UFC event. Pearson is currently a sizable -350 favorite over Stout at +290. Both men have Fight of the Night bonuses to their credit, so we could see another fan-friendly matchup. But who gets the edge on the stat-line? Summary Stats:
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Tale of Tape Matchup: The traditional tape is nearly a dead heat. Both orthodox strikers are 30 years old. While they are still in the theoretical primes of their careers, they’ve also both racked up more experience than most in the UFC. Stout is only slightly bigger, but negligibly so. Pretty much a wash here, so we’ll need to go deeper. Striking Matchup: The striking matchup should be the key to this fight, as we’ll see later that neither man likes attempting takedowns. Pearson holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and got started with boxing, while Stout competed in professional kickboxing as well as MMA. So clearly these guys prefer to stand and trade, although both obviously have worked to round out their skillset on the ground. In technical terms, Pearson has shown better striking metrics. While he tends to match pace with opponents and works at an average overall pace, but he generally gets the better of standup exchanges thanks to his excellent accuracy and above average striking defense. Stout on the other hand, is a pressure striker who operates at a very high pace. But although he throws in high volume he doesn’t always land on target, as his accuracy is among the lowest of experienced UFC fighters. Despite his nickname “Hands of Stone,” his Knockdown Rate is actually below average, and lower than Pearson’s, although both men have proven capable of scoring knockouts. Defensively, although Stout eats punches more than he should, he’s at least managed to avoid knockdowns at a better than average pace. Despite both fighters being strikers, they have opposite strengths and weaknesses. Pearson will be getting the better of exchanges, especially if he’s countering the forward advance of Stout. And Stout, while perhaps eating more shots, could prove to be durable long enough to test Pearson’s chin. It’s a tricky offset of styles, but overall the lean goes to Pearson, with plenty of finishing potential on both sides. Grappling Matchup: Neither fighter has attempted many takedowns, and stylistically they are likely each hoping to succeed on their feet in this matchup. Not only do they attempt fewer takedowns than normal, they only succeed at a marginal rate, and yet both have better than average takedown defense. That all spells a standup battle. Historically, Pearson has spent 93% of all fight time on his feet, while Stout has spent 81%. According the metrics neither man was really excelled or been dominated once on the ground, so really there’s no advantage to be called here other than that substantial mat time seems unlikely. Neither is a threat with submissions, so the downside of the fight hitting the mat will be that we won’t see as much action. Reed’s Pick: The Under (Pearson by late TKO) Click for latest MMA odds Reed’s Recommended Play: The statline reveals what will likely be a back and forth standup battle, boosting the odds of a “Fight of the Night”-type scenario. And among the striking stats, Pearson sees enough of an advantage to suggest he should be the crisper striker, but he’s also at risk. At the current odds -350 is too much exposure to lay on Pearson straight up, and may even be too much for parlays. So the better angle could be to consider the amount of finishing potential these two offer. The Over of 2.5 rounds at -165 suggests a clear lean that the fight will hit the cards. But the plus money of +145 on the Under shows good value given that these guys are probably going to bang it out, and one them could end up being knocked out. An early finish at plus money is the safest play, and the prop on Pearson by TKO at +230 is your best high value play. If you do play Pearson’s side straight or in parlays, consider a small hedge on Stout by TKO at +850, especially if the line on Pearson rises further closer to fight time. For information on getting the “Fightnomics” the book, go here. 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.