At least according to bettors, Junior dos Santos seems to have dodged a bullet. After his original opponent, Alistair Overeem, tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone and was removed from the UFC 146 main event, dos Santos' odds skyrocketed, going from minus-240 versus Overeem to minus-500 when Frank Mir was announced as the replacement. Though the line suggests the veteran will be an easier challenge for "Cigano," Mir isn't exactly a walk in the park, given his unique skill set and style.
After sorting through the statistics behind the fights at UFC 146, we've found one terrific home run of a bet and three solid favorites with value for Saturday night. We'll tell you whether Mir is that underdog with value hidden in the statistics, and break down the rest of the numbers for this stacked card.
Cain Velasquez (minus-360) vs. Antonio Silva (plus-300)
MMA fans are well aware that Velasquez is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC. But what few will appreciate is just how good a fighter Velasquez is statistically, posting some of the most impressive numbers in the short history of the sport. To begin, Velasquez holds the record for the highest Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM) rate in all of MMA at 7.44. The closest second to him is dos Santos, who averages 6.8. Velasquez also holds the record for the second-highest significant strike accuracy rate of 60.6 percent, with the only better fighter being Anderson Silva, who is widely considered to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. And if his striking stats weren't impressive enough, Velasquez maintains an incredibly high 6.8 takedowns per 15 minutes.