Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC 162 Preview: Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Dave Herman



I’ve seen some people suggesting Dave Herman has a good chance of beating Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 162, but I don’t see it. Herman is the better volume striker on paper, but is out-matched by Gonzaga in every other category. In particular, Gonzaga is vastly superior on the ground and might make Herman eat humble pie once again for his declarations that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t work on him.

If Herman wants to win his best bet is to use a sprawl-and-brawl strategy. If he can keep this fight standing then he should have the ability to land more strikes than Gonzaga over the course of the fight. The one skill Herman has shown in the UFC is the ability to land frequent strikes. Gonzaga has not shown that ability, so one path to victory for Herman is to stop Gonzaga’s takedowns and win on points.

The statistics of every other aspect of the fight point to a Gonzaga victory. Neither fighter has a good chin (or anything close to it), but Gonzaga has shown much better knockout power. Either fighter can win by knockout in this fight, but I think Gonzaga is much more likely to win that way than Herman.

What Gonzaga really should do is take the fight to the ground. I recommended to Herman that he use a sprawl-and-brawl strategy but I’m not confident he’d be able to pull it off. Gonzaga lands 3.38 takedowns per 15 minutes at 49 percent accuracy, among the better success rates in the heavyweight division. Herman has shown decent takedown defense in the UFC, but not good enough that he should be able to fend off repeated takedown attempts made by Gonzaga.

If Gonzaga succeeds in landing a takedown, the fight really should be just over. Contrary to what Herman has said about the effects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, his grappling metrics aren’t impressive at all. He’s only been taken down three times in the UFC, but those takedowns led to 10 guard passes and three submission attempts. Granted, most of those came from Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, but if Nogueira can do it, Gonzaga can do it too. Gonzaga’s grappling credentials rank among the best in the heavyweight division.

As much as Herman has a chance to win this fight by TKO, I think he’s at a disadvantage everywhere. He’s definitely at an enormous disadvantage on the ground if it goes there. If it stays standing, then I think Herman will land more strikes, but given the history of both fighters, I really don’t see this fight going the distance. I think it’s much more likely to end by TKO one way or the other, and because Gonzaga has shown much better knockout power in the UFC, I have to side with him.

Pick: Gabriel Gonzaga by submission


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