Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC 194: Model Estimates and Commentary

I’ve decided to put out the model projections for tomorrow’s UFC 194 fights, since a lot of people like to look at them a day before the event actually takes place. I’ll post degenerate gambler selections later tonight, after the conclusion of the TUF 22 Finale.


Favorite % Underdog %
 Jose Aldo 58.5% Conor McGregor 41.5%
 Chris Weidman 72.5% Luke Rockhold 27.5%
 Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza 50.5% Yoel Romero 49.5%
 Demian Maia 63.5% Gunnar Nelson 36.5%
 Max Holloway 72.3% Jeremy Stephens 27.7%
 Urijah Faber 58.0% Frankie Saenz 42.0%
 Tecia Torres 70.5% Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger 29.5%
 Colby Covington 53.9% Warlley Alves 46.1%
 Kevin Lee 75.6% Leonardo Santos 24.4%
 Magomed Mustafaev 61.9% Joe Proctor 38.1%
 John Makdessi 64.6% Yancy Medeiros 35.4%
 Court McGee 79.2% Marcio Alexandre Junior 20.8%

Earlier this year, the model estimated that Jose Aldo had about a 75 percent chance of beating the notorious Conor McGregor. After defeating Chad Mendes, McGregor has cut that to 58 percent. I can’t sit here and say there’s no way that McGregor beats Aldo, because all indications are that this will be a very competitive fight.

I do think people routinely forget how good Aldo is though. Aldo might have the best pure striking defense I’ve ever seen in MMA. It’s just plain difficult to hit him with a clean strike, and his hands are extremely fast. While I think McGregor is definitely the better offensive striker, I think Aldo is the better defensive striker… and in a competitive fight, I usually side with the better defensive fighter.

Even so, Aldo is hardly invincible, and has been known to fade in the later rounds of championship fights before. If McGregor has the same success with body shots that he had against Mendes, perhaps we’ll see Aldo struggling again… giving McGregor the opening he needs to win the fight.

You knew I was going to favor Chris Weidman to beat Luke Rockhold, it was just a question of how lopsided the estimates would be. The betting lines consider Weidman only a narrow favorite at -130. Rockhold certainly has a lot of hype behind him after his brutal, efficient victory over Lyoto Machida earlier this year.

While I don’t think Rockhold is out-classed by Weidman in any one area, I also don’t see where Rockhold has the advantage going into the fight. Rockhold might have better knockout power than Weidman, but Weidman seems to have the much better chin. After all, both of Rockhold’s losses in MMA have come by way of knockout. Rockhold’s biggest strength is his ground game, but Weidman is also excellent on the ground, and I expect Weidman to be superior in the takedown game.

The model sees Jacare-Romero as a 50-50 fight. Romero’s takedown defense was once a liability, but recently he’s looked every bit the part of the world-class wrestler he was supposed to be. If it goes to the ground, it will obviously be a huge advantage for Jacare, who is one of the best ground fighters in the sport. At standing distance, I favor Romero but only by a narrow margin.

Again, I’ll post my gambling selections later tonight, but you can easily look at the model estimates and the betting lines and probably figure out who I’ll be betting on.



One response to “UFC 194: Model Estimates and Commentary

  1. r.mattioli December 11, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    couple comments…aldo`s kicks are going to be extremely critical here(and takedowns,too…he used takedowns quite a bit vs Korean zombie,another strong,come forward fighter)…he`ll use takedowns to offset the constant pressure..and the only lefty i could find on his record was jonathan brookins…..he used kicks to the inside of brookens lead leg constantly in their fight…and he`ll be moving…hit and get out…i expect the first two,maybe even 3 rounds to favor aldo……it`s the late rounds in which he struggled some(edgar/hominick)…

    if McGregor doesn`t have a plan to stop those kicks to the inside of his leg,he could be in some trouble…i think that`s the key to an aldo victory….that,some intermittent takedowns and a stick and move gameplan…

    i was leaning McGregor…but I’m waffling a bit…

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