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UFC Vegas 31: Miesha Tate vs. Marion Reneau

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

Miesha Tate -145 vs. Marion Reneau

Marion Reneau is 44 years old and has been taking punches professionally for over a decade. "The Belizean Bruiser" will face a fighter seven years her junior, in Miesha Tate, in the penultimate bout on the UFC Fight Night: Makhachev vs. Moises card. We are fading age here (as we love to do), given the frank reality that the human body's capacity to absorb punishment diminishes with time.

To illustrate the dramatic impact of time in the fight game, Reed Kuhn found that fighters in their 40's go down with only 40% of the effort required to drop fighters in their 30's, on average.

But in general, substantially younger fighters have exhibited an edge, regardless of the specific age of their opposition. Per the database, which dates back to April 2013, fighters entering the ring with at least a 7 year age advantage saw their hands raised at the end of the evening 63% of the time (on a 649-374 record). Backing youth from this spot has been good for a (hypothetical) 10% return on investment.

Importantly, the 63.3% observed win rate for much younger fighters is statistically significantly different (at the 95% confidence level) than the 58.5% win rate required to breakeven at average odds of -141 for fighters in this spot.

Further, when we narrow our universe to consider only contests where both the younger and aged fighters are coming off losses, youth's win rate holds more-or-less steady at 63.7% (79-45), for a 8% ROI on average odds of -153.

Mireover, when the featured combatants are female and both are off losses, the meaningfully younger fighter won a remarkably similar 62% of the time (8-5), for a 9% ROI, on average odds of -134.

Thus, we find a fairly robust historical precedent in support of Miesha Tate's relative youth Saturday.

Stylistically, Reneau has proven the more active striker and better defender, based on career stats. However, in a sign that Father Time has caught up to the more experienced mixed martial artist, Reneau has dropped four in a row. This beleaguered stretch features a significant strikes landed per minute figure of 2.6 (versus 3.3 all-time) and significant strikes absorbed per minute of 4.8 (up from 3.4 over Reneau's UFC career). Thus, Reneau has eaten 2.4 meaningful shots more per minute than she has doled out in her last 60 minutes in the cage--the bruiser has become the bruised.

Looking forward, we do not expect a turnaround for Marion Reneau, as age-related diminution is generally irreversible.

Also, Reneau is the superior jiu jitsu practitioner on paper, boasting a black belt to Tate's purple strap. However, Tate's owns the more dangerous ground game. Miesha averages more than three times as many takedowns as Reneau, and twice as many submission attempts.

Per the accompanying graphic from BestFightOdds, Tate opened at plus-money (American) odds in late-June (Reneau was installed as a -135 favorite). But astute bettors piled on pretty immediately to bid the number down to more rational levels. The current -145 level for Tate's moneyline suggests about a 59% implied probability of the win for "Cupcake". We see value with the moderate favorite up to about the -160 ballpark, and are jumping on Tate's bandwagon now.

Happy betting!!

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