Let me throw some numbers at you:
- 1.83 significant strikes landed per minute
- 3.65 significant strikes absorbed per minute
- 0 takedowns landed
- 5 opponents’ takedowns landed
That’s Joe Proctor. He’s only fought twice since competing on the 15th season of The Ultimate Fighter, defeating Jeremy Larsen by first-round TKO and losing to Ramsey Nijem by unanimous decision. Nijem is a tough opponent for a lot of guys, especially an unproven quarterfinalist from TUF, so Proctor’s true performance level is probably better than the above statistics would indicate. Even so, those numbers are very uninspiring, and don’t say anything good about Proctor’s long-term UFC outlook.
In this fight, however, Proctor is taking on Cristiano Marcello, another participant on TUF 15 and a fighter who may be even worse than Proctor in both striking and takedowns. Overall, Marcello has been out-struck 177-147 and has lost the takedown battle 8-1. Marcello’s strength is the submission game, as evidenced by his nine career submission wins, but his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu just isn’t good enough to win consistently from his back, and that’s where he’s had to fight more often than not.
Even worse for Marcello, Proctor happens to specialize in submissions himself. Four of Proctor’s eight career wins are by submission, and he attempted four submissions against Nijem despite not landing any takedowns. Proctor is probably good enough to at least neutralize Marcello’s submission game, even if Marcello lands a takedown at some point.
A lot of people clearly expect Proctor to win as he’s listed as the favorite at -210, with Marcello the underdog at +175. I understand why this is the case; Proctor has gotten some respect from online analysts while Marcello is more often the target of frustration, as most people believed he didn’t deserve to win a decision over Reza Madadi.
With that said, this matchup seems to be very even on paper. Neither fighter is very good at striking and neither is very good at takedowns either. Both fighters are good at submissions, which means the advantage should go to whoever gets top position. Of course, I have no clue who that will be… it’s possible this fight could just become a striking match since both fighters might have a healthy respect for what the other can do on the ground.
Either way, it’s clear that this is a low-level contest by UFC standards. Unless I see some stark improvement out of whoever wins, it’s hard for me to imagine either fighter accomplishing much in the UFC. Given Marcello’s advanced age (36) and his on-off 17-year participation in the sport (closer to eight years of real experience), I have more hope for Proctor to be the one who improves.
Pick: Joe Proctor by decision
DEGENERATE GAMBLER’S CORNER
I have Marcello at a 46% chance of winning, which is certainly better than the +175 odds on him suggest. However, due to a lack of data on Proctor, that estimate comes with a high margin for error. With the margin for error built in, Marcello ranges anywhere from 31% to 61%. From a gambling perspective I have to assume Marcello’s chance of winning is closer to the 31%… at that percentage, +175 is no longer good value. I’ll put a flier on Marcello if he climbs above +225 but I doubt that will happen.