UFC on FOX 15 April 18th, 2015 Middleweight Matchup: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs Chris Camozzi By @fightnomics Last week in Poland a fighter got to avenge a loss in dramatic fashion. This week in Newark, Chris Camozzi steps up on short notice to return to the UFC, only to face Ronaldo Souza who submitted him just two years ago. The market has taken a rather harsh stance on this matchup, not giving much chance at all for Camozzi to get any redemption. Perhaps that’s because his loss to Souza kicked off a four-fight losing skid that resulted in his exit to the regional scene, while Souza has won four straight and is now a top contender. Regardless, Yoel Romero’s injury and late-notice matchup-switch opened the door for Camozzi to return and face the same man that sparked his losing streak. Currently, the #1-ranked Souza is a Rousey-esque favorite at -1375 and climbing, with the unranked underdog Camozzi at +900. The lines are epically drawn, but before we go throwing Souza into parlays all over the place, let’s see if Camozzi has anything better than a puncher’s chance on the statline. Summary Stats:
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Tale of Tape Matchup: The traditional tape actually leans towards the underdog. Camozzi is slightly larger, but perhaps more importantly has a seven-year Youth Advantage over Souza. But Souza hasn’t yet shown any wear and tear despite hitting the 35-year age threshold, and fortunately we also have some performance metrics to consider before we call for an upset. Striking Matchup: This will start on the feet, and this is where Camozzi will likely want to keep it. Camozzi’s primary advantage is his pace of striking, which averages 12.6 attempts per minute compared to just 7.4 from Souza. In general, Camozzi has outworked opponents by a substantial margin on the feet, while Souza has been more hesitant and relied on counters. That could give Camozzi a temporary edge, but his striking is not a threat in the long run. In fact, Souza is actually the harder hitter between the two. The feared grappler has stepped up his striking game and looked very comfortable on his feet lately. And with three knockdowns scored to date and none received, Souza should be considered the more dangerous striker of the two. Camozzi’s best chance to sway a round is to use his long, accurate jab at high volume while being wary of takedown attempts to keep the fight standing. But based on the grappling stats, that may be difficult to do. Altogether, the idea that Camozzi has a “puncher’s chance” is a little less supportable than usual. Camozzi has been a grinder who has hustled his way to several solid decision victories, but his lack of power and ineffectiveness on the mat have cost him plenty more. While there’s certainly a chance for him to hustle a round, the question remains: how long can he stay out of danger? Grappling Matchup: Here’s where the potential mismatch that is fueling the steep odds resides. In their first fight, it took Souza less than four minutes to put Camozzi to sleep via arm triangle. That’s because Souza is quick to attempt takedowns, and has a good success rate. And overall he’s been in control for 92% of his time spent on the mat. Once on the canvas, Souza has excelled at locking up dominant positions, and his submissions come at a high rate in both frequency and success. The so-called “alligator,” Jacare, has converted six of 13 submission attempts for a win in his Strikeforce and UFC appearances. Camozzi is very unlikely to attempt any takedowns. Surprisingly, he has yet to land one takedown in his entire UFC career (on 16 attempts), and certainly wouldn’t want to here. Rather, Camozzi will be looking for the takedown attempts from Souza, but unfortunately for Camozzi his takedown defense is only average, and probably not enough to keep Souza away for long. Ultimately, Souza will find a way to get this to the ground if he wants to, and there the fight will resemble the proverbial lion in a shark tank. A Souza submission is how their first fight ended, and it’s likely how the second will end too. Reed’s Pick: Souza Inside the Distance, Under (Click for latest MMA odds) Reed’s Recommended Play: The price for Souza opened at -1050 and has been climbing ever since. At such extreme odds, taking Souza’s side straight up is unplayable, as you never know if there’s an injury or a fluke punch that could alter the outcome. While Souza is justified as a clear favorite, and their history together (and since) only confirms it, it’s best to look for alternate angles for better value. The tight limit of 1.5 rounds at -200 is also Rousey-esque in nature, and confirms that the market doesn’t expect this fight to last very long. Souza’s submission game is among the best around, and now he’s also demonstrated knockout power. Use the Under in parlays until it runs too steep, closer to -300. Also consider splitting your parlays with Souza Inside the Distance (currently -435), because while Souza by Submission may be the most specific and usually affordable play, it overlooks a potential striking finish. The only conceivable hedge prop to consider is a tiny play on Camozzi by Decision (+1225). For information on getting the “Fightnomics” the book, go here. Want to put your knowledge to the test in Fantasy MMA for cash? Use the code “FIGHTNOMICS” for an immediate 25% deposit bonus at Kountermove.