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.
UFC 194 – STATISTICAL MODEL ESTIMATES
| Jose Aldo
| Chris Weidman
| Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
| Demian Maia
| Max Holloway
| Urijah Faber
| Tecia Torres
| Colby Covington
| Kevin Lee
| Magomed Mustafaev
| John Makdessi
| Court McGee
||Marcio Alexandre Junior
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.