With help from the statistical folks over at FightMetric, ESPN Insider marries betting with mixed martial arts and breaks down the money lines on five fights spotlighted on each UFC card.
Don't be confused by the UFC 141 promo material; the organization hasn't suddenly entered the business of body building. On Dec. 30, those two 6-foot-3, 265-pound men are actually going to fight each other. And aside from their cartoonish physiques, they're actually two of the best heavyweights in the division. While the size of Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem will be the focus, their underrated skill sets, and the statistics to back them, will most likely be overlooked by many in the betting public.
In addition to breaking down the betting values of Lesnar and Overeem, here are some of the other inefficient lines going into UFC 141.
Donald Cerrone (minus-260) vs. Nate Diaz (plus-220)
Lightweight (155 pounds): It's hard to believe that this will be Donald Cerrone's fifth fight of 2011. Even more impressive, Cerrone seems to improve with each new fight. This fight against Nate Diaz should be no different, as the stats support the dominance that "Cowboy" has demonstrated in his six consecutive victories.
Not only does Cerrone land more strikes per minute than Diaz (3.37 compared to 3.03), but perhaps more importantly, he has greater accuracy, successfully landing 46 percent of attempts compared to Diaz's 36 percent. The same advantage is seen in the takedown game. Cerrone averages 1.65 takedown attempts per 15 minutes compared to Diaz's 1.47, but again, completes 48 percent of his takedown attempts compared to Diaz, who completes just 30 percent.
And though Diaz is known for his exceptional submission game, Cerrone possesses the statistical advantage in this area as well, attempting 2.97 submission per 15 minutes compared to Diaz's 1.89. If Cerrone can dominate in every aspect of the fight as the stats suggest, minus-260 is a cheap price to pay for the privilege of being on the side of such a heavy statistical favorite.
Insider pick: Cerrone