Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC on Versus 4 Preview: Matt Brown vs. John Howard

The second fight scheduled to be televised on Versus will be a welterweight battle between two strikers in Matt “The Immortal” Brown and John “Doomsday” Howard. And before I go into the analysis, I have to say this up front: I don’t hate Matt Brown. I don’t have anything against Matt Brown. In fact, I like Matt Brown and I enjoy watching him fight.

See, what I like most about SILVA is that there is exactly ZERO bias or subjectivity in it. The ONLY base components of SILVA are wins and losses: fighters are judged by their own wins and losses, adjusted for their opponents’ wins and losses, and adjusted again by their opponents’ opponents’ wins and losses. It’s more work than you think it is. The result is a system that estimates how good each fighter is on a completely statistical basis. And as there are fighters rated at the top by the system – Cain Velasquez at heavyweight, Georges St. Pierre at welterweight, Chad Mendes at featherweight – there are fighters rated at the bottom. At 170 pounds, that’s Matt Brown.

Of course, I’m not saying Brown is the worst mixed martial artist alive; that would be unbelievably incorrect and silly. He is, however, the lowest-rated fighter I’ve measured at welterweight that has competed in the UFC. The reason is a very mediocre 11-10 record that includes a 7-6 mark prior to joining the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. On the show, Brown knocked out a poor opponent in Jeremy May but lost to Amir Sadollah. Brown is a respectable 4-4 in the UFC, but the wins are against a low tier of UFC opponents: Matt Arroyo, Ryan Thomas, Pete Sell, and James Wilks.

John Howard is better than all of those fighters. But there is hope for Brown. Eight of Brown’s ten losses have been by submission, and two have been by decision. Howard actually has six submission wins on his record, but all of them were very early in his career, and none were against a quality opponent. Meanwhile, Howard has been making statements, as reported by Maggie Hendricks of Yahoo, that this fight is going to win the Fight of the Night award. That doesn’t sound like a man who’s planning on taking Brown down and working the ground game.

Still, even in a striking war, I have to favor Howard. He’s not the most refined striker in the UFC, but he does have power, as shown against Dennis Hallman and Daniel Roberts. That’s not to say Brown wouldn’t have a chance: he has good punches and kicks and has never lost by KO or TKO. But again, the level of competition has to be kept in mind, and Brown’s UFC wins are against very weak opponents by UFC standards.


John Howard will have a choice to make. He can either wage a striking war against Matt Brown, please the crowd and go for the Fight of the Night bonus, or he can fight smart. He can take Brown down, ground and pound, and search for submissions, where Brown has proven so historically weak. Howard seems to have made his choice already, and while it should make for a very entertaining fight, it will also mean Matt Brown has a better chance of winning than SILVA would suggest. Either way, Brown’s record is just too weak to pick him to beat a solid opponent like Howard.


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