UFC 189 Matchup Analysis: Matt Brown vs Tim Means


UFC 189
July 11th, 2015

Welterweight Matchup: Matt Brown vs Tim Means

By @fightnomics

How stacked does a fight card have to be to see Matt Brown fighting on the prelims? The UFC pulled out the stops for UFC 189, and unassuming fans that might be watching the prelim fights at a bar will certainly benefit from seeing the final fight before the pay-per-view.

The 5th ranked Welterweight Brown is the favorite, currently priced at -185 over the unranked Means, the underdog at +160. It’s a fairly close line considering the rankings, perhaps because of the opposite trajectories of the two men. Brown is coming off back-to-back losses, while Means is riding a 4-fight win streak. But those streaks aren’t really the full story here. In fact, Brown was on a seven-fight win streak until a decision loss to Robbie Lawler in a title eliminator. Brown then lost to former champion Johny Hendricks. Meanwhile Means has racked up wins at a good clip, albeit against less impressive competition, several of whom may be on their way out of the UFC. There’s definitely a big quality of competition issue clouding the metrics here, but we’ll stack these two up to see how they fare regardless.


Summary Stats:

Uber Tape Brown-Means
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Tale of Tape Matchup:

The traditional tale of the tape is a bit of a wash. Means’s slight Youth Advantage of three years isn’t really significant, and neither is Brown’s slight reach advantage. The two fighters have nearly identical number of pro fights, though many will say that the wars Brown has weathered add damage via “fight years” to his side, and yet he’s face much better competition. Regardless, the two fighters are similarly rangy for their division, and both fight Orthodox.


Striking Matchup:

The standing matchup is what we’re hoping to see, as both guys like to press the action. Offensively, Brown gets the edge by being more powerful and more accurate with his strikes. Brown also averages 13.0 strike attempts per minute, which is higher than Means at just 9.9. But that doesn’t suggest Means is a hesitant striker, he’s actually outworked his opponents by nearly 20% on volume. And defensively, Means has had better strike avoidance and has yet to be dropped in his UFC career.

What makes this matchup so much fun is that neither guy is likely to back down. They’ll go toe-to-toe, and that should make for a fan-friendly, but hard to predict fight. Brown should do damage, but at this point in his career he’s also vulnerable. Brown was badly stunned twice by body shots in his fight with Erik Silva, and notably Means throws twice as many body kicks as the average fighter. Combining these two factors provides one possible path to victory for Means if he lands a good kick and can swarm.

In the clinch, Brown is just as dangerous as on open ground, if not more so. Brown’s elbows against the fence and knees up the middle come early and often, and he is comfortable spending plenty of time clinching. Considering the similarities in some metrics, it’s also important to remember the difference in quality of competition. Brown’s accuracy is that much more impressive given whom he has fought against.


Grappling Matchup:

But if either man runs into trouble on the feet, only Brown is likely to fall back on wrestling. Means attempts much fewer takedowns than the UFC average, while Brown has been in control on the ground when he needs it. Against another dangerous striker in Stephen Thompson, Brown landed takedowns as the fight went on to run away with a decision via ground and pound.

Brown’s takedown success rate is a little above average, as is Means’s takedown defense. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and Brown clearly is persistent if anything. If Brown thinks he’s in a close round, he should pull the trigger on his wrestling to help secure the card. And while his submissions are frequent, they haven’t found much success at this level. Yet his ground and pound is sure to leave a mark.

Means has more often than not been controlled on the mat, and doesn’t throw up a lot of submissions in defense. So if he finds himself on the mat, that could cost him a round.


Fightnomics Pick: Brown to Win (Click for latest MMA odds)


Fightnomics Recommended Play: 

Overall, Brown is a justifiable favorite, but not far beyond the -200 limit. He’s a vicious striker, and has underrated wrestling to fall back on if he needs it. With the last two fights coming up short against elite competition, this fight should be more to his comfort level, allowing him to unleash some of his weapons and take advantage of Means’s forward movement. Brown straight up if the price is right, or part of conservative parlay (for example, Mendes-McGregor starts Round 2) are both reasonable. The longshot that Means lands something damaging and Brown’s years of experience finally take a toll says that Means by TKO at +500 is the best small hedge for the fight.

The Under of 2.5 rounds is currently a pick ‘em, and that’s a tricky line. Welterweights finish about half of fights, and Brown is definitely a punishing finisher. But on the other side, Means is not much of a finisher, nor has he been finished by strikes himself. Avoid this total, because something crazy could happen, but just as easily it could go to the cards.


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