Jared Cannonier vs. Derek Brunson
Tipping Point Micro Breakdown
This post I intend to be a biiiit longer than the others. Conceptually, I imagine these posts as a way to identify a single data point that we believe will be the tipping point in the matchup. 2-3 paragraphs filled with some narrative data analysis and an estimation of what I think will occur. So without further adieu lets get into it! From my analysis, this fight is coming down to the takedown threat and chin of Brunson. I am going to start off with the takedown ability
Brunson's grappling credentials are what have gotten him to #4 at Middleweight. In Brunson's last 3 fights he was a total of 27 minutes and 24 seconds of grappling control time. Mathematically, that's 5.5 rounds of grappling control across 9.5 rounds of fight time. But enough about Brunson, Cannonier's takedown defense will obviously come into play in this tipping point. Unfortunately, Cannonier is near the bottom of the pack in grappling defense. Jared ranks 14th among ranked middleweights in takedown defense % (62%). Takedown defense as a stat is pretty poor in general so let's dive a little deeper. Jared has been taken down 17 times across 12 fights which is more evidence pointing to his poor takedown defense. The other thing to note about that 17 takedwons against, Jared consistently gets taken down by talented grapplers whereas striker he faces completely ignore this aspect (Ion 6 takedowns, Glover 3 takedowns, David Branch 3 takedowns, even Jan Balchowicz landed 4 takedowns on Jared). Coupling Jared's poor takedown defense with Brunson's elite takedown offense makes this a very clear tipping point in the fight. But for Brunson to land the takedown, he has to bridge the distance on Cannonier which is no easy task considering his power potential.
As I mentioned before, Brunson's chin is a problem. In fact, Brunson rates as the worst in KO rate among ranked middleweights and in the 4th percentile at avoiding KOs. Cannonier on the other hand with 5 KO victories ranks 4th among ranked middleweights at KO finishes (92nd percentile). So we have the worst chin at middleweight going against one of the most powerful punchers in the class. So herein lies the second half of our tipping point. Can Brunson bridge the distance with his takedown talent to control grapple Cannonier to a Submission/Decision victory? Or will Cannonier pull a Derrick Lewis vs Curtis Blaydes with Brunson waking up with the doctor's flash light in his face (torch for our UK audience)?
My read, Cannonier utilizes his prodigious calf kicks to slow down Brunson and affect his takedown speed. That half a beat Derek loses opens the window of opportunity for Cannonier to land his newly developed uppercut. Even if he doesn't land it, Cannonier can convert the uppercut into an underhook to defend the takedown. If I am making the tactical gameplan for Cannonier, I am drilling the uppercut over and over and over. Make sure to check back each day this week for a daily tipping point blog as well as a full matchup breakdown of Casey O'Neill vs. Roxanne Modafferri. Interested in more data analysis and MMA? Sign up for our newsletter here!