Bellator 183 Fight Forecast

Fight Forecast is a recurring series at StrikeScoreMMA.com that provides a stats based preview of upcoming events. Since striking stats are not available outside the UFC, we need to get a bit creative. The following uses Fight Matrix rankings, peak rank, Tapology user votes, betting odds and Rankings Momentum.

In this case, the period used for Rankings Momentum was 10/1/2015 to 7/1/2017. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be includedTapology scores are as of Sept. 22 at 9:30 a.m. ET. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of Sept. 22 at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Bellator 183 Screener.png

Bellator 165 Fight Forecast

Fight Forecast is a recurring series at StrikeScoreMMA.com that provides a stats based preview of upcoming events. Since striking stats are not available outside the UFC, we need to get a bit creative. The following uses Fight Matrix rankings, peak rank, Tapology user votes, betting odds and Rankings Momentum.

In this case, the period used for Rankings Momentum was 1/1/2015 to 10/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. Tapology scores are as of Nov. 18 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of Nov. 18 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Bellator 160 Fight Forecast

Fight Forecast is a recurring series at StrikeScore that provides a stats based preview of upcoming events. The following uses Fight Matrix rankings, peak rank, Tapology user votes, betting odds and Rankings Momentum.

In this case, the period used for Rankings Momentum was 7/1/2014 to 4/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. Tapology scores are as of Aug. 26 at 9:30 a.m. EST. Betting odds are from 5Dimes via BestFightOdds.com as of Aug. 26 at 9:30 a.m. EST.

*Ranking at Welterweight ^Ranking at Featherweight **Ranking at Bantamweight

*Ranking at Welterweight
^Ranking at Featherweight
**Ranking at Bantamweight


Benson Henderson vs. Patricio "Pitbull" Freire"
It is interesting to see Freire as such an underdog. He actually started out as even less of a favorite, but the public has bet him to +195 at press time. 

Considering the fighter who has given Freire the most trouble is Daniel Straus, Henderson seems to present a tough stylistic matchup for him. On top of that, Henderson will be the much bigger fighter in the cage. The fact that the fight is three rounds also appears to stack the deck against "Pitbull." As the more dynamic fighter, the extra two rounds would give him more time to score a finish.

Henderson needs a win here to show that his apparent decline is due more to underestimation of Andrey Koreshkov and less to due with his ability. In retrospect, his three-fight stint at welterweight was probably not the best idea. He went 2-1, but all of his performances were well below his career average in terms of StrikeScore.

Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Bubba Jenkins
In their first fight, Karakhanyan telegraphed the fact that he was going to continually go for the guillotine. He ended up finishing with it anyway. Since then Jenkins has shown incremental improvements, but his submission defense is still a concern. With that being said, the former NCAA champion should be the favorite here. Their first fight withstanding, Karakhanyan normally struggles with wrestlers. If Jenkins can get early takedowns, the former WSOF champion will become less of a submission threat as the fight goes on.

Saad Awad vs. Derek Anderson
If Awad lands early, he can put anyone away, see wins over Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos and Will Brooks. If Anderson can survive the early onslaught, he should be able to prove he is the more technical striker and take a decision victory.

A.J. McKee vs. Cody Walker
McKee is the biggest favorite on the card despite only being 4-0 as a professional. It makes sense in this case. Despite being only 4-0, his opponents in those bouts came in with a combined 11-1 record, so it is not like he is smashing cans. Plus, Walker really struggled with his defensive wrestling against J.C. Cottrell in his last fight (Video). McKee might not be as accomplished a wrestler as his father or cousin, but he still competed at a high level in his school and can depend on it if he gets into trouble here. 

A.J. McKee vs. Ali Naser (Expected starter for Arizona State next season)

Joey Davis vs. Keith Cutrone
Obviously, Davis should be able to win his professional MMA debut based on his wrestling background alone. At Notre Dame College, he went 131-0 and captured four NCAA Division II titles. In the history of NCAA wrestling, there have been only three wrestlers to go undefeated and win four titles: Davis, Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson and Marcus LeVesseur. LeVesseur accomplished the feat for Division III Augsburg. He fought MMA 29 times from 2003-2012 but went only 1-2 in the UFC with a split-decision win over Carlo Prater.

Interesting side note: Bellator has promoted Davis as having an undefeated 5-0 amateur MMA record. The only source for this record seems to be an interview Davis did with InterMat in 2014. Tapology actually has him listed as 1-1 in the amateur ranks. Either way, he should have a long and successful MMA career in front of him.

Bellator 153 Fight Forecast

Normally for UFC events, StrikeScoreMMA.com puts together a Fight Forecast. The preview shows the fighter's StrikeScore, betting odds, fantasy stats and so on. However, there are not fantasy numbers, striking stats are not available and betting odds come out extremely late if at all. So, using Fight Matrix numbers, we have come up with the following Fight Forecast for Bellator 153. The table below shows the fighter's current ranking, Rankings Momentum, peak ranking and the date of the quarter in which the fighter had their peak ranking.

In this case, the period use for Rankings Momentum was 7/1/2014 to 4/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of April 21 at 1:30 PM EST.

* ranking at lightweight ** ranking at middleweight

* ranking at lightweight
** ranking at middleweight

Benson Henderson Decline?
Naturally UFC president Dana White did not have very flattering things about Henderson on his way out the door. His exact words were, "He’s a former world champion who’s ranked No. 15 now. We’re looking for top-5 guys, guys that are going from 15 to 1, not the other way around."

As his -30 Rankings Momentum shows, Henderson has declined in terms of rankings. However, he does still appear to be a viable contender in two weight classes and a great signing for Bellator. Andrey Koreshkov will not be a walk in the park. If Henderson can pull out the victory, it will be a sign that he is back on the right path in his career. It is interesting to note, that Henderson's StrikeScore numbers have somewhat declined since his move up to welterweight. His scores against Brandon Thatch (153) and Jorge Masvidal (130) are well below his UFC average of 247.

Tough road for Henry Corrales
Patricio Freire's original opponent fell out o the fight well less than two weeks to go. Corrales took the fight on short notice. It will most likely be a struggle. Since signing with Bellator, Corrales has faced his two toughest opponents to date, Daniel Straus and Emmanuel Sanchez, and neither fight has been pretty. Corrales opened as a +260 underdog and the line keeps going up.

Brennan Ward continues to make the case
It seems like after every fight, Ward is convinced that he has done enough to earn a title shot. Unfortunately, he is not the one who decides these thing. He will likely face the winner of the main event for the belt next if he gets past "Cyborg." Santos earned his peak ranking in 2010 after defeating Dream champion Marius Zaromskis. Since that win, he has gone 2-3 with his only victories coming against Elton Rodrigues and Artenas Young. Ward is a justifiable favorite.

MVP Honors
Clearly Bellator would like to build around Michael "Venom" Page. During his run in the promotion he has scored averaged a knockout every for six minutes of fight time. Jeremie Holloway is likely not on this level, but he will get his chance.

Prospect Deferred
Chris Honeycutt has been forced to the preliminary card after falling to Paul Bradley in a battle of NCAA Division I All-Americans. He gets a chance at redemption here as he faces Matt Secor. Bellator originally signed Secor as an opponent for Honeycutt's coach Josh Koscheck.

Statistical Impact of Benson Henderson's Clinch Game and other notes from UFC Fight Night 79

In the main event, Henderson held the significant strike advantage over Masvidal 86 to 77. However, when it comes to total strikes, Masvidal held the edge 217 to 138. The concept of Significant Strikes was developed by Fight Metric and is fully explained here. Basically, it excludes strikes that are thrown simply to keep busy in the clinch and on the ground. Since this fight was mostly contested on the feet, most of these insignificant strikes came in the clinch position. The disparity between the fighters in terms of total strikes is expected, because Henderson continually forced clinch fighting along the cage. While he held position and looked for takedowns, Masvidal tried to score as best he could. 

The Unified Rules state, "judges shall use a sliding scale and recognize the length of time the fighters are either standing or on the ground as follows... if the mixed martial artists spent a majority of a round standing, then: effective striking is weighed first." Despite this, fighters pushing their opponents into a clinch position along the cage and doing very little are continually rewarded. There are tons of examples, but Randy Couture's robbery decision win over Brandon Vera is probably the best example of "wall and stall" influencing a judge's decision.

This belies the genius and effectiveness of Henderson's strategy.  His failed takedowns and clinches might seem like a cheap tactic to hold position along the cage, but the difference between the significant strike and total strike numbers show the actual genius in the strategy. By forcing the clinch on a more skilled striker, Henderson forced Masvidal to resort to throwing strikes without much impact. At the same time, Henderson was able to be the better striker on the StrikeScore scale in three of the five rounds.

Henderson is a true master of distance. In his fights, he always appears to strive to be either all the way or all the way out. He is either close enough to clinch and avoid strikes or far enough away that opponents can not touch him with strikes. Masvidal was able to give him problems by scoring with a rangy kicking game, but Henderson's strategy ultimately paid off again. The former champion is now 6-1 in five-round decisions in the UFC and WEC. Interestingly enough, his only defeat in such a fight came against one of the most dangerous range kickers in the sport, Anthony Pettis.

Henderson vs. Masvidal StrikeScore (Significant and Total)

Dong Hyun Kim shutout Dominic Waters
Waters did not even manage an attempted strike against Kim. After a brief clinch exchange, Kim took Waters down and secure the crucifix position. Kim attempted 95 total strikes during the fight. The result is a career-high 8100 StrikeScore for the South Korean fighter.

Judges find Akiyama slightly less Sexy
Yes, StrikeScore had Yoshihiro Akiyama over Alberto Mina. It most likely came down to the first round in the eyes of the judges which was admittedly close. StrikeScore MMA is still in the process of setting a criteria for a 10-8 round score, but Akiyama's 338 to -2 dominance as well as Mina's apparent disinterest in competing should probably qualify for a 10-8 third round.

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alberto Mina StrikeScore

Korean Superboy Continues Knockout Tour
Doo Ho Choi's first-round knockout of Sam Sicilia rated a 389 on the StrikeScore scale. Amazingly that is a step down from his UFC debut, a 7600 StrikeScore performance against Juan Manuel Puig. Choi's first two wins have come in less than two minutes of cage time. Insert cliche about getting paid by the hour here.

Despite strange line movement Tae Hyun Bang defeats Leo Kuntz
Bang began as a -180 favorite. He stayed the favorite until late Friday night. On Saturday morning, he could be found as high as +321. Late line movement does occur, but it is rarely that drastic. The back and forth contest put to bed any notion of a fixed fight and Bang took the decision with a 218 performance.

Screenshot from  BestFightOdds.com

Screenshot from BestFightOdds.com