UFC Vegas 50 Analysis

Main Event Preview:

#3 ranked Light Heavyweight Magomed Ankalaev vs. #9 ranked Light Heavyweight Thiago Santos

Using our machine learning models, BCDC projects this fight to be a striking fight. Thiago Santos has lost 2 out of 3 fights where he is at least a +400 underdog. However, Magomed Ankalaev’s only loss came in March at odds of -800, and he is 1-1 at odds of this price previously. Both of these fighters don’t have the best stats at these kinds of odds… with the added excitement of two ranked opponents in BCDC squaring off! Ankalaev has a dominance score of 2.92, and Santos has a score of 1.84. Let’s dig deeper into the data. 

An especially telling stat for me is whether or not this fight will be a standup fight… or is Ankalaev wants to take it to the ground. Ankalaev is 5-0 against fighters with 9 or more for Total Strike Attempts per min. Ankalaev has handled fighters with more volume before and beaten all five of those opponents. Santos tends to reach the top of the division and ends up falling short against the top competitors (#4 Rakic, #2 Glover, and #2 Heavyweight Jon Jones). Santos is extremely inconsistent with the top-level fighters. Even though he is #9, it is more because he is good… not great. Sometimes, consistency gets you farther than anything else. 

Finally, I’ve run a Bayesian simulation model to provide more context. BCDC is 87% sure that Ankalaev is the better fighter with a risk of being wrong at 22%. This means there is a 4% edge at a price of -510 which is an 83% probability. I expect this line to go up. Our machine learning model picks coming out on Saturday, and we have had 72% accuracy over the last 50 fights. I am leaning towards Magomed Ankalaev because he has more tools in his bag, is able to deal with high volume strikers, and is 7-1 as a favorite in the UFC. I predict Magomed to win by knockout in the 4th or 5th round. 

Featured BCDC Fight Preview:

Alex Pereira vs Bruno Silva

You are out of your mind if you think this fight isn’t ending in a knockout. This is my featured bout instead of the co main event fight. Alex Pereira will dominate this fight, and you should be jumping on this as much you can! Pereira is the best stand up fighter and the most powerful pound for pound striker in the world and will flatline anyone in a standup fight. The price being set at -180 is insane. Our models are projecting this fight to be a standup fight and to not go the distance. Both fighters have never successfully taken a fighter down in their combined 4 fights. 

What happens when a matchup in the UFC is purely a standup fight?

Since the UFC’s start in 1993, are the most predictable fights to bet on by far. If neither fighter attempts a takedown, the individual who lands the most strikes wins 85% of the fights in the UFC out of 735 recognized samples. Silva averages about 5 strikes per minute, whereas Alex only lands about 2 per minute. If it goes to a decision (which would be unlikely), then it might be in Silva’s favor. 

However, I will be going against this stat because both fighters average about 6 minutes in the octagon. It took Alex 11 strikes to win his first fight in the UFC. I do not see him needing more than a few strikes to win again. His standup game, in my opinion, is the best because of his countering and power. If you stand with Pereira, you have an extremely low fighting IQ. If Silva wants the chance to win, he will not stand with him and needs to mix things up to keep Pereira guessing. It is okay to not be the best standup fighter… you just need to understand your opponent’s weaknesses and exploit it. This is easier said than done, but, from a data perspective, a fighter has to exploit cardio if you are fighting Pereira, and this is accomplished by trying takedowns. 

Alex Pereira should be at odds of -220 or higher right now. Odds of -250 would equate to about a 71.43% probability of winning. That is actually what I think are the correct odds for Pereira. I can currently get him at a major sportsbook for about -180, which is a steal. Even if he was at -220, I’d still want him in this fight. BCDC projects Alex Pereira by knockout in the first round. 

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2 Comments

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