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BE Analytics: UFC on FOX 12 preview and predictions

Bloody Elbow’s analytics expert crunches the fight numbers and estimates win probabilities for the top five bouts on tonight’s UFC on FOX 12 card.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

In case you've been living under an MMA rock, UFC on FOX 12 goes off tonight with a solid main card and one of the most anticipated headline matchups of the year. And, it will make two FOX shows in a row without Bendo or DJ as the headliner. It's fight madness I tell you, and it's free......I love free.

The top five fights on the card all have good data and I'm stoked for every one of them - even Rumble's highly likely beatdown of Little Nog.

As always, see the notes at the bottom for precise definitions of the statistics employed and read the introductory article for an explanation/reminder of how this works.

Matt Brown (65.3%) over Robbie Lawler (34.7%)

Note: These numbers are based off Lawler's 19 documented fights. Some EliteXC fights are missing but they'd have no impact on the statistical model's prediction.

I'm seriously looking forward to this fight. It's a title eliminator and both guys tend to have closer fights than average and a lot of TKOs. Bring it on, fellas!

The one sentence book on these guys is that Lawler's the more technical and powerful striker while Brown is the tougher, clinch, inside fighter who may have body/liver issues of late.

By the numbers, both guys bust up faces, Brown at a higher rate and Lawler with a higher percent of power head shots landed. Both guys knock people down, Brown at a higher rate and Lawler at a higher percent of power head shots landed while standing. What's the common thread here? Brown's far more active than Lawler. At distance, he attempts 23.5 head jabs per five minutes (P5M) to Lawler's 16.4, and 37.9 power strikes to Lawler's 26.0. Brown's more accurate, landing an impressive 50 percent of his distance power shots. Brown also mixes things up while Lawler's a head-hunter - although Lawler's version of mixing things up is hunting for your head, and sometimes body, with his shins.

A lot's going around about Brown's "glass-livered" body problems (shout out to Patrick Wyman for the phrase). Brown's only two times being knocked down have come in his last three fights, yet he's managed to finish both with a knockout. Impressive? Yes. Concerning? Also yes, especially with Lawler's back leg constantly cocked and loaded at Brown's blood sponge. One "Leroy Jenkins" moment and it could be night, night.

Yet Brown's never been knocked out and Lawler's only been knocked out by Nick Diaz way back in the day. These guys don't get knocked out yet they get a ton of knockouts; they lose by submission yet rarely submit. That's worth getting excited for my friends.

Lawler's a distance fighter, spending 3:05 there P5M compared to a 2:00 welterweight average and 1:33 for Brown. He hardly ever attempts a distance takedown while Brown attempts about an average number and completes better than average.

Brown spends 1:35 in the clinch P5M (0:53 average) and he rarely has control. He's on the cage 61 percent of the time yet still manages to attempt an average number of power strikes and land at a huge rate of 79 percent. He's Thai clinching-up and going to the body half the time where he lands at a 91 percent rate. Lawler's defense in the clinch is about average percentage-wise but his opponent's tee off on him with volume, whereas Brown is rarely touched.

If things get to the ground, both guys standup and have people standup on them more than average, but Brown stands up 41 percent more than Lawler and has people standup on him half as much. Submissions likely won't be an issue as Lawler's never attempted a documented submission while Brown's attempted 22 but only finished one.

We've got a battle of Brown's volume, accuracy, power, clinch game and possible body issues against Lawler's power, chin and cocked left leg. The model has Brown by decision (30.8%) or TKO (21.5%). Lawler's best chance is a TKO. At +310 as of this writing, the model has a 3-unit bet on Brown. Wesley Snipes wouldn't like it but tough noogies for him. Instead of betting on black, this fight's kind of like betting on 1st and 3rd 12 in roulette, but with a much better payoff if successful.

Anthony Johnson (79.9%) over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20.1%)

I'm not going to spend time on this fight as it should be pretty lopsided, even though that's not what the percentages represent.

Dennis Bermudez (71.4%) over Clay Guida (28.6%)

The first thing that stands out when looking over the 322 statistics for this fight is that Clay Guida has never busted up an opponent's face in 19 documented fights, 53 rounds and 248 minutes of fight time (Guida busted up Josh Thomson's eye at Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Gracie back in 2006, but documentation for that fight isn't complete). He's had his face busted up seven times while Bermudez has never damaged a face nor had his damaged.

Even though Guida's game has changed a bit, I still tend to think of limitless energy and action. But Bermudez is the much more active and accurate power striker at distance. He attempts 46.4 power shots per five minutes (P5M) and lands 34 percent to Guida's 29 attempts and 22 percent accuracy. Bermudez also mixes things up with power body and leg strikes about three times more than Guida. The tradeoff is Bermudez eats shots to do all this. Opponent's land almost twice as many power strikes to the head on Bermudez as they do on Guida.

In the clinch Bermudez goes to town, attempting 37.1 power strikes P5M and landing 60 percent (23.2 attempt average) while Guida attempts only 15.4 power strikes. But Guida's spending his time going for 8.3 takedown attempts (5.0 average).

The big question is where will this fight take place? Bermudez has stuffed all 12 takedown attempts at distance. Guida has better than average takedown defense but still goes to the canvas 21 percent of the time. Meanwhile, Bermudez is three times more active with distance takedowns than the average featherweight and 50 percent more successful.

In the clinch, both guys usually have control (62 percent of the time for Guida and 59 percent for Bermudez) while both attempt mostly lower body takedowns (7.1 P5M for Guida and 6.4 for Bermudez) and have mostly lower body takedowns attempted on them. Their lower body completion rates all tilt in Bermudez's favor (54 percent completion for Bermudez to Guida's 42 percent, and 90 percent defense for Bermudez to Guida's 79 percent).

On the ground, Bermudez has control 92 percent of the time to Guida's 84 percent. As some of my Bloody Elbow colleagues have noted, Guida has the edge in submission accuracy and defense, but Bermudez attempts 73 percent more P5M. Of course, this volume may be a double-edged sword as it can finish the fight but also might leave him in a crappy position.

We've got a likely standup battle with Bermudez having the edge in takedowns and positioning during scrambles. The model has Bermudez by decision (40.4%) or TKO (25.2). Guida's best chance is a decision.

Bobby Green (55.9%) over Josh Thomson (44.1%)

The old Punk and the young King kick off the main card.  I'm not too concerned about the short notice nature of the fight since Green knew he had an upcoming bout back on June 9. Personal issues may be a different story but I have no idea how to control for those statistically except to ignore the fight and that ain't happening. Last we saw Thomson, he was inactively back-controlling Bendo in what was surely a performance designed to give us all more fodder to argue about MMA positional point scoring.

Statistically, Green and Thomson have a good amount of similarities. Both have bout closeness measures of 61 (lightweight average is 41, where 100 is close fights and 0 is blowouts), both attempt 1.4 takedowns P5M at distance and complete about 1/3, both knock opponents down at about the same percent and spend a very similar amount of time at distance, in the clinch, and on the ground. But Green has four times the damage rate and much more volume than Thomson. Green lands 7.2 head jabs P5M at distance to Thomson's 4.0, 18.2 power shots to Thomson's 8.5, 27.2 power shots in the clinch to Thomson's 17.4 and 27.9 power shots on the ground in control to Thomson's 8.6. If ever one needed the Yo app, now's the time. Yo!

Granted, Thomson has a larger sample and his competition has been much better, but the model attempts to control for the latter in a statistically significant way. Is it enough in this case? Is Green the newbie who's fought relative cream puffs compared to the grizzled veteran Thomson? How much weight should we give Green's nut-shot win over James Krause? We'll find out tonight and I'll be loving every minute of it.

This fight and Masvidal/Cruickshank are pretty much Ace-King vs. Queen-Queen races. But, at +225 as of this writing, the model has a one unit bet on Green in his race.

Jorge Masvidal (56.7%) over Daron Cruickshank (43.3%)

These guys are two distance fighters who rarely shoot for takedowns and don't spend much time in the clinch (Masvidal does so more than Cruickshank). If Masvidal gets taken down, he's insta-standing up (9.1 P5M, see notes, compared to a 2.4 average). The model gives Masvidal a slight edge in a likely standup battle that goes the distance.

Four hours of UFC on free, network television - then heading out to one of the great new restaurants in L.A., and whatever after. In the immortal words of Roscoe Dash, it's gonna be a good, good night. Enjoy the fights!

Notes: Strike attempts are for an entire five minute round in each position (P5M) and are categorized as jab or power. A jab is just a non-power strike. Strikes are documented based on where they land or are targeted (head, body, legs), not the type that is thrown (punch, elbow, kick, knee). Visible damage rate is per five minutes the fighter is not on his back. It's hard to bust up someone's face while lying on your back. Damage percent is per power head strike landed. Knockdown rate is per five minutes at distance or in the clinch off the cage. Knockdown percent is per power head strike landed while standing. It's really hard to knock someone down if they're already on the ground. Clinch control is having the opponent pressed against the cage. Ground control is having top position. Submission attempts are per five minutes of ground control minus time spent in the opponent's guard plus time spent with the opponent in guard.

Are there any fight questions you'd like analyzed? Send them to or @MMAanalytics on Twitter. Fight data provided by FightMetric.

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