Travis Browne vs Andrei Arlovski – UFC 187 Statistical Analysis and Pick

UFC 187 May 23rd, 2015 Heavyweight Matchup: Travis Browne vs Andrei Arlovski By @fightnomics Many discounted the return of former champion Andrei Arlovski to the UFC, mostly due to a string of four consecutive losses in Affliction and Strikeforce. But the Belorussian has made quite a return to form, with only one loss in his last 10 outings, with that being a decision loss to current Light Heavyweight contender Anthony Johnson. Since returning to the UFC he has pulled off two straight upsets against Brendan Schaub and Antonio Silva, and now is facing a future title contender in Travis Browne. Arlovski has now rattled off two consecutive upsets in the UFC, while Browne has dotted his UFC career with the occasional surprising loss as a favorite. And yet, these two are definitely not being treated as men on opposite trajectories. The #3 ranked Heavyweight Browne is a -450 favorite over the #8 ranked Arlovski at +360.  As with many matchups on the card, the favorite is priced high and only climbing higher as the parlays rain down. So we should first check to see if the stats support Browne as a clear favorite, and where additional angles may lie.   Summary Stats:

Uber Tape Arlovski-Browne (1) 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 likes Travis Browne as the younger and bigger man. Arlovski isn’t far into the danger zone for age, but he’s definitely there, and it’s made worse by a very long career that includes seven knockout losses. Browne will certainly be the more durable fighter, which is a critical factor in the Heavyweight division.   Striking Matchup: The striking matchup is somewhat mixed, so there is some risk here for Browne should he fail to land a big shot early, or worse, injure himself (as has happened twice). Both men have similarly big power, but Browne’s chin is much stronger should they turn this into a slugfest. However, Arlovski appears to be the more technical striker on paper, something perhaps he has worked on since suffering KO’s in his past. Arlovski is slightly more accurate, and shows much better striking defense. He also tends to control the cage and press the action better than Browne, with Arlovski also averaging a slightly higher output of strikes on the feet. That makes the striking closer than the odds suggest, and means Arlovski is capable of stealing rounds here with his activity. But the biggest weakness for Browne in his striking defense is also somewhat mitigated by his durability. Despite injuring himself early against Fabricio Werdum, he endured a ferocious beating and still forced a five-round decision. So Browne can afford to trade leather and eat a few punches in order to land one knockout blow, and Arlovski will have to be tentative about getting too aggressive. There could be lots of feeling out between the two early on.   Grappling Matchup: On the ground there’s a stronger lean towards Browne in the numbers. Neither man attempts many takedowns, and both have solid takedown defense, so we won’t necessarily see a grappling match here. But if the fight does go to ground, it’s much more likely to be Browne taking it there and getting top control. That backup plan for Browne gives him an out round-to-round should Arlovski implement a high pace of strike and fade tactics. Browne is also capable of finishing fights on the ground, though more likely by strikes than by submission. Arlovski does have the credentials and experience to handle himself on the mat, and has never once been submitted, but he has been controlled frequently, and Browne is well-equipped with his size and athleticism to win the grappling matchup here.   Reed’s Pick: Browne Inside the Distance (Click for latest MMA odds)   Reed’s Recommended Play:  The current price of -450 is yet another matchup at UFC 187 where the favorite is justified, but the action keeps pushing the price further from value. Browne’s line isn’t quite as high as Weidman or Benavidez, but this division has burned plenty of clear favorites (including Browne) due to the volatility and power of Heavyweights. However, the striking strengths of Arlovski mean he could win rounds, and if Browne fails to land the knockout blow, this fight could go the distance and be open to a surprising split decision. The Over of 1.5 rounds is currently +110, the Under -130. The market is clearly expecting an early finish for the Heavyweights, and yet there are some factors that could push us towards the Over. The history of these two training together could result in a very slow start to the fight. Browne may also want to utilize his ground game early to test Arlovski out, or Arlovski could play it conservative. Either way, the fight could take some time to develop, and even if Arlovski is getting the better of the fight, Browne is far too durable to cave early. That presents a play on the Over, but only at plus money. Browne Inside the Distance is still the likeliest outcome, with a TKO finish at -175 the best value play. If you go heavy on Browne to win, consider waiting till the line maxes out and then making a small hedge on Arlovski by Decision around +700.   For information on getting the “Fightnomics” the book, go here. 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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