Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis


One thing that’s very important to me is to be accountable – not just to the readers of this blog, but to myself as well. It’s time to level with everybody. My “degenerate gambling” picks for the UFC and the NFL have basically been terrible for two months now. I hoped that UFC 178 would be the beginning of a turnaround but I was dead wrong.

Eddie Alvarez -110: Was simply out-matched at standing distance against Donald Cerrone. I thought Alvarez would be able to tee off on Cerrone with punches, but that only really happened during that one flurry in the first round.

Dustin Poirier +235: Basically got smoked by Conor McGregor.

Tim Kennedy +125: I could complain about Yoel Romero’s antics between rounds if I wanted to, but I miscalculated on this fight. I thought Kennedy could control Romero with takedowns, but it looks instead like Romero’s takedown issues of the past are behind him.

Patrick Cote +305: Looked like the 3-1 underdog that he was. 0/8 in takedowns and most of his striking offense was in the form of leg kicks.

Brian Ebersole +190: Winner!

I’m frustrated but I think it’s a mistake to try to “get it all back” in a short period of time. The worst thing to do is go on “tilt” and just make a tremendous number of questionable bets. So I’m going to do the opposite – I’m going to really narrow down my betting selections and try to focus in on what I believe will be the best picks.

Part of that will be to rely on a more stats-heavy approach. I’ve gradually been straying farther and farther from my metrics, to the point where my picks have been based mostly on what I believe from a scouting perspective. That approach may work for 99% of intelligent MMA folks out there, but it’s not my intellectual strength. My strength is working with numbers, and while there are plenty of people in the betting community who cackle at the idea that numbers can be meaningful in MMA, I strongly believe it can work.

If I had strictly adhered to what FPR told me, I would have made the following decisions:

-Bet on Ebersole (+1.84 FPR) to beat John Howard (-0.16).

-Pass on a bet on Cote (+0.08) to beat Stephen Thompson (+3.27).

-Pass on a bet on Kennedy (+6.98), due to a small data sample on Yoel Romero.

-Pass on a bet on Poirier (+3.77), due to a small data sample on Conor McGregor.

-Pass on a bet on Alvarez due to a small data sample on him against Donald Cerrone (+4.30).

Obviously it’s easy to say these things in retrospect. FPR would have also indicated betting value on Chris Cariaso (-0.04) against Demetrious Johnson (+3.49), who is criminally underrated by FPR for some reason. I’m not sure if I’ll go back to using strictly FPR for betting… but it can’t be as bad as my picks have been the last couple months.

Part of the problem is that, with the UFC running so many fight cards, the UFC is featuring many fighters who simply haven’t been in the promotion for very long. Next week’s fight card in Stockholm is a great example of this. The only fighters on that card with a data sample I consider sufficient (60 minutes) are Rick Story, Max Holloway, and Dennis Siver. It becomes pretty much necessary to do scouting to determine where there is betting value.

I’ll have to think about this further. It could be that I never had a strategy that was a long-term winner, and recent events were simply regression to the mean. There are reasons that I always make sure to recommend people don’t follow my picks. For now, I’m in a process of re-evaluation and hopefully that will lead to better things ahead.


12 responses to “Accountability

  1. howard morton September 28, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Everyone goes on a losing streak. I think I am -30 units over the past month, but before that I was up atleast 40-50 units. Bad luck pays a part too,

    • David Williams September 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      Yeah variance is a big factor. I do think I need to shift my thinking though. I’m far too quick to see the upside in underdogs, and dismiss why the betting favorites are the betting favorites.

  2. gambler September 28, 2014 at 11:52 am

    the fpr is good for lkq competition

    in boxing i wont even factor in some fights(fpr) when capping a fight.

    a good example of this is the cloud/betrbiev fight last inght

    the tko means nothing to me as tarvoris is clearly not the same fighter that he once was.

    • David Williams September 28, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      I’m not sure if we’re talking about the same thing? FPR is my Fighter Performance Rating statistic I use to estimate how good UFC fighters are. I’m not sure if FPR stands for other statistics in other sports as well – it wouldn’t surprise me.

      • gambler September 28, 2014 at 9:02 pm

        i believe that your fpr for a particular fighter is done from past performances, whether that be the last three or six fights or even more. i like to use compubox and fight metrics as much as the next guy but some fight stats just are not reliable because the type of competition is not worth anything for properly evaluating the fighter.

      • David Williams September 29, 2014 at 12:02 pm

        Ah yes. That’s why I include a strength of competition modifier in my formula. But I fully acknowledge that it’s not a perfect solution. Ultimately you need to do what you feel works best for you.

  3. Mirko September 28, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    It happens, I put 0.5 units on Romero/Masvidal and 0.5 on Cerrone and I won.
    Every time put more than 3 units on someone I lose.
    Basically I just put those small bets for adrenaline.
    Alvarez wasn’t a bad call since he had possibility to wrestle Cerrone for 3 rounds and grind out a decision but that didn’t happen.

    • David Williams September 28, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      It can definitely be difficult to remain process-oriented instead of results oriented. A fighter losing doesn’t make a bet on him the wrong call… but at the end of the day, what matters is the bottom line. If I’m not winning then I need to adjust.

      • Howard Morton September 30, 2014 at 4:35 am

        Is it bad luck or bad bets? Because luck will eventually turn good.

        You are right though, bottom line is everything .

  4. Nick October 1, 2014 at 10:19 am

    23 fights to make up for this weekend =)

  5. r.mattioli October 1, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    you do just fine…it`s a great informational tool and I always check out your opinions prior to an event…..I`m honestly shocked(or maybe I`m just not aware of them) that there aren`t more sites like yours given that mma has taken off like it has…boxing has it`s graham houstons and tim starks….your site is one I always check and consider prior to ufc events…

    people are always going to make their own wagering decisions(or at least they should)…you can`t have enough information to help make those decisions…..there have been times when I took something away from your analysis that saved me from making a bad wager….

    all in all you`re very informative and you have a reader-friendly style that makes the site an enjoyable experience…

    keep keepin` on…

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