Diego Brandao Fight Metric profile
Daniel Pineda Fight Metric profile
Diego Brandao is nearly a 3-1 favorite to beat Daniel Pineda and I can only guess at the reason why. In his brief UFC career, Brandao has not shown exceptional talent in any one area. He’s taken more significant strikes than he’s landed in three out of four fights. He hasn’t shown exceptional grappling ability. He’s been accurate at landing takedowns but doesn’t attempt them frequently.
When I look at Brandao I see a fighter who has decent talent in all areas of MMA but isn’t super talented anywhere. The best thing I can say about Brandao is that he’s a good finisher – 14 of his 17 career wins are by stoppage. At the same time, Brandao’s record is just 17-8 overall and 14-7 before entering the UFC. High-level prospects and potential title contenders don’t usually lose one out of three fights on the regional circuit.
I think Brandao’s stock has risen too high – part of this comes from winning the TUF 14 featherweight tournament. Brandao is a recognizable name at 145 pounds and when he wins, it’s often in exciting or impressive fashion. Make no mistake about it, Brandao is a very flawed fighter who I believe is overrated.
There are metrics which suggest that Pineda is easily a better fighter than Brandao. Pineda is excellent on the ground; he’s attempted four submissions in just 21 minutes of fighting without being caught in one himself. The result is that Pineda rates alongside Jim Hettes as having the best ground game at 145 pounds – with the qualifier that Pineda’s data is a small sample.
Pineda also has better overall striking metrics than Brandao, although Brandao is more likely to win a fight by knockout.
It would seem that Pineda should be the clear favorite to win… but what drags him down is his strength of opponents. His three UFC wins were against Pat Schilling, Mackens Semerzier, and Justin Lawrence – not an all-star cast at 145 pounds. Against the tougher Mike Brown and Antonio Carvalho, Pineda didn’t fare so well. Pineda was knocked out by Carvalho and out-grappled by Brown.
Brandao is firmly in the middle ground between those groups of opponents. He’s better than Schilling/Semerzier/Lawrence, but not as good as Brown/Carvalho.
What it all adds up to is a fight that should be competitive in all areas. If it stays standing then Brandao has the edge because of his KO power and finishing ability. If it goes to the ground Pineda may prove to be slick enough to catch Brandao in a submission hold. Overall, FPR gives Pineda a very slight 53-47 advantage and I’ll go along with that pick for the upset.
Pick: Daniel Pineda by submission