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  • Writer's picture@WizeOwlSports

UFC Fight Island 2: Joel Alvarez Vs. Joseph Duffy

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

Joel Alvarez +245 vs. Joseph Duffy -265

We're backing the relative UFC newcomer (at deep plus-money odds) in his third fight on the big stage for several reasons. First, Alvarez is five years Duffy's junior, which implies a modest edge of itself, as combatants five years younger than their foes win about 54% of the time, according to a comprehensive examination by Dillon Huff, based on data from the Sherdog database.

Empirical study ​also found that fighters start to decline about nine years into their careers (Duffy's first pro fight was in 2008), and, again per the Huff analysis, that the most precipitous drop-offs in win rates happen after age 27 (Duffy is 32).

Separately, a 2012 review of contests logged in Fight Metrics database found that fighters with 4-6" longer appendages emerged victorious about 54% of the time.

Alvarez holds a 4" reach advantage, which suggests an additional meaningful edge against Duffy this afternoon.

More compellingly, a more recent 2016 piece by Dr. Paulie "Gloves" Gavoni and Dr. Alex Edmonds, titled "Fight Science: The Reach Advantage", references findings by Hooman Estelami to the effect that reach is in fact a significant predictor of MMA outcomes. The following chart reflects win rates by reach disadvantage/advantage for 1,178 MMA fights held in Nevada from 2003-2010.

Fitting with the aging fighter narrative we have laid out thus far, Joe Duffy is 2-3 in his last five fights, with both of the two wins accruing against dubious competition (Reza Medadi lost four of his last six, and 35 year old Mitch Clark is 2-5 most recently).

Separately, the strike stats are nearly indistinguishable for the two fighters (though, again, Alvarez's UFC experience is minimal, so his numbers might be taken with a grain of salt, and Duffy is clearly the superior grappler). So there is nothing fundamental to dissuade us from backing the dog.

Bottom line: As far as we can tell, this looks like a solid spot to take a flier on a big (live) dog. Age and reach advantages for Alvarez as well as signs of Duffy's decline give us the confidence to roll the dice. Take a small chance on Alvarez +245.

Happy betting!!

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