Jon Jones makes his Heroic Return: UFC 214 Preview


Jon “Bones” Jones (4/11) v. Daniel “DC” Cormier (9/4) (Title Bout)

Jon Jones hasn’t fought since April 23rd, 2016. Now entering UFC 214, in his first fight back, he faces Daniel Cormier. Jones comes in at 4/11, with DC, the underdog at 9/4; The Over/Under on the fight going the distance is 10/17. Jones Beat Cormier for the Undisputed Light Weight title previously.

Jones being the favorite is heavily warranted, as he leads every statistical category. Just on paper, he is taller (6’4″ to 5’11”), a longer reach by 12″, and 3 more wins than DC, albeit each fighter only one loss a piece. “Bones” is also 8 years his junior.

As a striker, Jon hits an average of 6% more strikes and takes 5% less standing damage; an impressive feat for the much larger fighter. He also succeeds in takedowns 10% more frequently and defends 16% better than Cormier. The only advantage Cormier holds is he’s avoided ring rust in the last 13 months.

Prediction: Jones

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Tyron Woodley (4/7) v. Demian Maia (6/4) (Title Bout)

On paper, the Welter Weight title bout between Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia is a close match up right down the middle; Maia has the better record, 25-6-0 to 17-3-1; Maia stands 4″ taller but Woodley reaches 2″ longer and is 5 years younger. As down the middle as it gets. Woodley comes in at 4/7, Maia at 6/4. The Match going the distance comes in at 11/10.

Striking sees both fighters close, each landing mid 40%’s of their shots and defending 61%, with Woodley Landing an extra shot per minute, Maia defending one more shot per minute.

The stats trading continues with Maia with 1.5 more takedowns per bout, but Woodley succeeds in 14% more takedown attempts and defends a whopping 24% more attempts, which is important because Maia averages a whole half submission more. Yikes.

So whats our point? This will be a close fight, and though Woodley’s slight statistical advantage has garnered him the better odds, many betters stand to make much more money on Maia.

Prediction: Woodley

Robbie Lawler (10/17) v. Donald Cerrone (7/5)

This is a fight that has all the makings of an upset, albeit a small one. With “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler coming in at 10/17, and Cerrone at 7/5, the favored bet should be the latter. Both fighters coming in off losses,┬ánot much separates the two on paper. Donald Cerrone has the advantage of two more inches in height and the better record (32-8-0, to 27-11-0).

As strikers, they share very similar statistics (both landing and absorbing roughly 4 shots per minute), but where Cerrone sees his biggest advantage is on the ground.
He averages half a takedown more per match, as he clearly looks to take it to the ground more frequently. He has the higher average take down per match but a lower takedown success rate. That is important, as he defends takedowns at a higher rate. Look to “Cowboy” to have a large advantage going to the ground this fight.
He also averages a whole 1.6 more submission attempts than Lawler, who averages zero. So all things considered, it’s not a bad bet that Cerrone will win this fight on the ground, if not by submission.

It’s also worth noting that both fighters combined average exactly 10 minutes of fighting time, with the Over on 3 rounds being 4/5 and the under 1/1, it’s not a bad bet to assume this could trickle into the third.

Prediction: Cerrone

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Jimi Manuwa (4/7) v. Volkan Oezdemir (6/4)

This is a fight that could be over in a flash. This is a bout between Jimi Manuwa, 17-2-0 with an average fight time of 7:45 (second round), and Volkan “Cousin” Oezdemir, 14-1-0 with an average fight time of 7:45. The Over on 1.5 rounds is 13/10. These are fun odds because even though they aren’t expected to go into the second, stats show that’s where you can make some money.

Manuwa comes in 9 years older than the Russian and favored at 4/7, and winning off 3 straight punch knock outs. Oezdemir, 6/4, only has two official UFC fights with both of them victories, the latest by knockout. Oezdemir hits a whole 2 extra strikes per minute but hits 23% fewer shots. So he’s just Swinging.

Thought grappling would reveal some sort of advantage? Think again. Manuwa leads every category purely based on the fact Oezdemir hasn’t gone to the ground a single time. No take downs, not taken down. Jimi averages 0.75 takedowns a match at a success rate of 25%, so the assumption here is someone is getting knocked out.

Prediction: Manuwa

Jason “The Kid” Knight (4/5) v. Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas (1/1)

Where Manuwa v. Oezdemir looks to be a total slug fest, this Featherweight fight between Lamas and Knight looks to be won on the ground. In each fighters last 5 bouts dating back to November 15th, 2016, they combine for 3 submission victories (Lamas with 2, Knight with one).

Knight is the favorite at 4/5 with a record of 20-2-0, with Lamas the underdog at 1/1. “The Bully” enters the elder with 10 years on (fittingly) “The Kid,” with an overall record of 17-5-0. In his last 7 fights however, he has gone 4-3-0. That does not bode well for Lamas, as Knight averages almost an entire 3 rounds (13 minutes). The Over on 2.5 rounds is 10/17, which strongly favors Knight.

As strikers, they are similar fighters. Knight lands a full 1.4 more strikes per minute of a match, with his last bout coming as a win by knockout. Lamas has 5% more success defending against strikes, but both fighters still allow around 45% of opponents strikes to land.

If either fighter had a huge advantage in this bout, it’s Knight’s prowess on the ground. He averages half a takedown more per fight, succeeds in going to the ground 11% more, defends takedowns 10% more effectively and averages almost 2 whole submission attempts more. If it comes down to competing submissions, Knight is highly favored.

Prediction: Knight