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UFC Fight Night 218: Marcin "Tybur" Tybura vs. Blagoy "Baga" Ivanov

The bet: Marcin Tybura -140

We are backing Marcin "Tybur" Tybura to beat Blagoy "Baga" Ivanov in this clash of heavyweight combatants on the undercard of the UFC Fight Night event headlined by Derrick Lewis versus Serghei Spivac. Supporting our pick, we note that Tybura is the better striker, boasting superior accuracy as well as a positive net Significant Strike differential (Tybur has landed more significant strikes than he has absorbed over his UFC career; Baga has not). Neither man is particularly skilled at securing takedowns and both are excellent at defending shots, so we do not expect much action on the ground.

The most compelling advantage for Tybura though, as we see it, is his 5" reach advantage. MMA Sucka reports a study of 1,178 Nevada mixed martial arts events between 2003 and 2010 that found win rates approaching 70% for fighters with at least a 3.5" reach advantage.

Morevoer, Fightnomics' Reid Kuhn examined 2,246 UFC fights from 1993 to 2013 and likewise observed a positive correlation between reach advantages and win rates. This examination found that standup fighters with 4.5-6" longer limbs won at about the same 70% clip.

Incorporating more recent data, per the database (which includes bouts from April 2013 to the present), fighters with 4-6" longer arms are 633-489 (56.4%), which proved statistically significantly different than 53.5% (the win rate required to breakeven given average odds of -115 for fighters in this spot).

More germane to Saturday's action, heavyweights with 4-6" edges in the reach department are 67-41 (62%) historically (also statistically significant).

Relatedly, Ivanov is 1-3 versus fighters with at least 4" reach advantages, with the singular win from this position materializing versus a fading Ben Rothwell.

Alternate bet: Tybura By KO, TKO, DQ or Submission +350

More aggressive bettors might want to take a small flyer on Tybura to finish Ivanov. Marcin has only notched four stoppages in ten UFC wins, and all three of Blagoy's losses under the UFC banner were decided by the judges, however, we note that this matchup will constitute the first fight where Tybur lords a substantial reach advantage over his opponent. Historically, when heavyweights with 4-6" reach advantages have won, the end came inside the distance roughly three times out of four (50-17).

Given the historical 62% win rate for fighters in Tybur's position, and the 74% stoppage rate, implied odds for this prop should be in the ballpark of +116 (62% x 74% = 46%). This context suggests the listed line of +350 represents a massive mispricing.

Given Blagoy's solid beard, we certainly do not suggest backing the truck up here, but we cannot ignore the value that history implies for this play on the winner combined with the method of victory (to win a full unit, a bettor would merely need to risk 0.286 units).

Happy betting!!


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