With help from the statistical folks over at FightMetric, ESPN Insider marries betting with mixed martial arts and breaks down the money lines on four fights spotlighted on the UFC on Fox 2 card.
In the UFC's second appearance on Fox, MMA fans are going to get just as much entertainment outside the ring as they're going to get inside it. The war of words between light heavyweights Rashad Evans and Phil Davis has hyped up an already compelling matchup between a former champion and a challenger who is one of the brightest rising stars in the sport. This stacked card also features one of the greatest trash-talkers in all of sports in Chael Sonnen (who backs up his talk in the ring) versus Michael Bisping, who is never short for comment himself. Though the verbal exchanges might steal the show Saturday night, the stats suggest the real theme of this event is going to be a few up-and-comers making names for themselves on a national stage.
Chael Sonnen (minus-450) vs. Michael Bisping (plus-360)
Middleweight (185 pounds): Though this matchup features two of the more outspoken fighters in the UFC, the fight is likely to be far less exciting than the hype would suggest. Sonnen averages a very high 4.01 takedowns per 15 minutes (good for 10th in UFC history) and is considered to have one of the best double-leg takedowns in the business. With Bisping successfully defending just 64 percent of takedowns attempted against him, it is very likely Sonnen will put Bisping on his back and keep him there for the majority of the fight.
Another plus for Sonnen: Bisping isn't exactly known for his knockout ability, so the chances of getting caught with a punch are very low, especially given Sonnen's incredibly low strikes absorbed per minute (SApM) rate, which is second-best in mixed martial arts. To make a Sonnen victory even more likely, Bisping is taking this fight on short notice.
So why stay away? For one, minus-450 is a lot to lie on any fighter. Second, Sonnen has had a history of getting caught with submissions, with which Bisping has had some success in the past. Bisping averages a decent 0.73 submission attempts per 15 minutes and has won two fights via arm bar, though those were much earlier in his career. Ultimately though, the fact Sonnen's last five losses have come by submission is unsettling, especially when having to lay as much as minus-450.
Insider pick: Stay away