Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC 149 Preview: Facebook Fights and SILVA 2.1

That’s right, SILVA 2.1. Even though I just recently began implementing SILVA 2.0, I don’t want to wait for processing every new SILVA score before tweaking the system a little bit.

The specific problem I wanted to address was that SILVA was overrating fighters with a lot of wins over mediocre opponents (John Alessio, Mike Russow) and underrating fighters who lost a few times against very tough opponents (Nate Diaz, Urijah Faber). I’ve made a couple simple changes to the formula which should more properly rate such fighters. Don’t worry, I won’t need to rebuild my database of fighters again – in fact, I’ll never need to do that again.

This whole process – improving SILVA over time – is like a blind dog finding its way around a house. It will take a while, and I’ll bump into all sorts of things on the way, but eventually I’ll get there. When I step back and look at SILVA now compared to SILVA when I first started it… there’s no comparison. One little adjustment, on its own, may seem relatively inconsequential, but trust me when I say SILVA 2.0 blows SILVA 0.1 and SILVA 1.0 out of the water, and hopefully future versions of SILVA will blow version 2.0 out of the water as well.

 

155 lbs: Mitch Clarke (9-1, 0-1 UFC) vs. Anton Kuivanen (16-5, 0-1 UFC)

The first fight of the evening features lightweights who lost in their UFC debut, as Canadian Mitch Clarke will be fighting close to home against Finland’s Anton Kuivanen. Unfortunately for Clarke, being the fan favorite in Calgary at UFC 149 might be the only advantage he has against Kuivanen. Clarke’s strength as a fighter is his submission game, as six of his nine career wins are by that method. However, the same could be said of Kuivanen, who has eight wins by submission, and has submissions of tougher opponents than Clarke does. Given that Clarke was out-grappled by John Cholish in his last fight, I would give Kuivanen the edge on the ground.

Interestingly, both fighters tried to stand and bang a lot in their debuts, despite their submission abilities. Kuivanen wasn’t great at it – he was out-struck by Justin Salas – but Clarke was particularly bad at it. Fight Metric’s numbers show how dismal his striking was, particularly in the first round against Cholish. In that round, Clarke threw 73 strike attempts and landed only nine, five of which were significant. Since Clarke fought at such an aggressive pace against Cholish, he became visibly fatigued in the second round, where Cholish beat him on the ground, taking his back, and crushing him with punches for a TKO finish.

SILVA PREDICTION: ANTON KUIVANEN (43.89) OVER MITCH CLARKE (14.14)

It could reasonably be said that Clarke delivered one of the least efficient performances in UFC history against Cholish: he exhausted himself with activity, but didn’t have much to show for all the strikes he threw. Given what I’ve seen of each fighter, and what their records indicate, I think Kuivanen has the advantage everywhere. I won’t dismiss the possibility that Clarke gets an early TKO or is able to land enough strikes to win by decision, but it appears to me that Kuivanen is a pretty clear favorite to win this one.

 

145 lbs: Antonio Carvalho (13-5, 0-1 UFC) vs. Daniel Pineda (17-8, 2-1 UFC)

Daniel Pineda is a great example of how a fighter can become over-hyped. The number one, easiest way for a fighter to get way too much hype is to win very quickly against a low-level opponent. Get two such wins in a row, and the hype threatens to explode. Erick Silva is a fantastic example of this, although he backed up the hype by taking out Charlie Brenneman in his last fight. For Pineda, his hype was a little too much to handle. His first two UFC fights were both first-round wins: first, by submitting Pat Schilling in 97 seconds, and second, by submitting Mackens Semerzier in 2:06.

I don’t have updated SILVA scores for Schilling and Semerzier yet, but in SILVA 1.2, they were 21.81 for Schilling and 8.45 for Semerzier. In other words, dismal. When Pineda stepped up in competition, by taking on Mike Brown, he fell short, although it was a good, competitive fight. His opponent this time around will be Antonio Carvalho, who was defeated by Felipe Arantes in his debut at UFC 142. Carvalho started strong against Arantes, winning the first round, only to fade and lose a 29-28 decision. With that said, Pineda has even more of a tendency to fade, as he is very aggressive early in fights.

SILVA PREDICTION: DANIEL PINEDA (40.45) OVER ANTONIO CARVALHO (36.99)

I have to pick Pineda to win this fight, since I think he’s a more talented fighter than Carvalho is, and has a decent chance of blitzing Carvalho early to end the fight. But the later the fight goes, the more it’s likely to favor Carvalho, who doesn’t go all-out early quite like Pineda does.

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One response to “UFC 149 Preview: Facebook Fights and SILVA 2.1

  1. Howard morton July 19, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I like Pineda and kuivanen.

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