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Tag: MMA charts

The BANG Effect: A Statistical Look at 2013′s Most Improved MMA Team [DATABOMB]


(Duane Ludwig [right] with one of his star pupils. / Photo via Sherdog)

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

An unlikely new coaching star, Duane “Bang” Ludwig has surged to the forefront of the competitive MMA coaching landscape after a fortuitous change of scenery. Ludwig is the obvious candidate for 2013′s “MMA Coach of the Year,” and few would question this, despite little fan awareness of his coaching prowess just one year ago.

Ludwig certainly had a tough 2012 that included three consecutive UFC losses, each one by first-round stoppage, the last of which added a fight-ending and career-threatening knee injury to the insult. But almost immediately after beginning the lengthy rehabilitation process, Ludwig got an unexpected phone call from Urijah Faber, and the creator of the Bang Muay Thai system suddenly migrated from the suburbs of Denver, Colorado to Sacramento, California.

Since Ludwig’s arrival at Team Alpha Male in December of 2012, his team’s fighters have been posting wins and highlight reel finishes at an unlikely pace. It’s even more unlikely, literally, when you consider the low share of TKO finishes that normally occur in the smaller weight classes where most Alpha Male fighters compete. The MMA media have been quick to point to the undeniable results of Team Alpha Male’s performance in the UFC as evidence that Ludwig was the missing ingredient to a team with championship potential. To be fair, the team already included former champions and contenders under Zuffa banners, but none that currently held a UFC belt. Now heading into this weekend’s UFC on FOX 9 card, Team Alpha Male has a chance to rack up not just four more wins, but capture its first UFC title of the Bang Era, and hold leading contender status in several divisions.

With all this hype around a team that is making a lot of noise, it’s a legitimate question to ask: Are they really better, or is this just a nice run of luck? The sudden emergence of Duane Ludwig as the MMA Coach of the Year is an extraordinary claim, and if Carl Sagan were still around (and an MMA fan), he would suggest that we demand extraordinary evidence before reaching such a bold conclusion. So I’m going to run the numbers in excruciating detail just to make sure.

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12 Weird Facts About Point-Deductions in the UFC [MMA STATS]

The tireless researchers at MMADecisions.com have just released a chart detailing every referee point-deduction in UFC history, for fights that went to decision. It’s a surprisingly short list, but it reveals some very interesting facts. We’ve screen-capped the chart above; click it to enlarge, and visit the “History of Point Deductions” page on MMADecisions to learn more about each individual fight.

Now, what does this chart tell us? Well…

1. In over 11 years of UFC events since 2001, only 22 points have been deducted during fights that went to the judges.

2. None of those point-deductions happened in 2003-2005, for some reason.

3. Herb Dean is the leading point-docker on the list with five points total. John McCarthy, Mario Yamasaki, and Steve Mazzagatti all trail him with four apiece.

4. Kicks to the groin lead the list of most-frequently penalized infractions (five deducted points total), with illegal upkicks to a downed opponent coming in second place (four deducted points). Eye pokes show up only once on the list. Still no love for the balls of the face.

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CagePotato Databomb #5: Breaking Down the UFC Lightweights by Striking Performance


(Click chart for full-size versionFor previous Databombs, click here.)

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

Last week we broke down the UFC Featherweight division in key striking metrics. This week we’ll look at the largest (numerically) UFC division, the Lightweights. A full explanation of the chart and variables is included at the end of this post.

The Winners

Sniper Award: Daron Cruickshank finally showed off his striking skills in his second UFC appearance against Henry Martinez on the UFC on FOX 5 card in Seattle. With nearly 50% accuracy, he looked like he was practicing on a heavy bag before mercifully dropping an iron-chinned Martinez with a head kick KO. Interestingly, the “Detroit Superstar” is set to face another division sniper, John Makdessi, in March at UFC 158.

Energizer Bunny Award: Tim Means is two wins into his UFC career, and has almost doubled the standing output of his two opponents. He also maintained good accuracy and scored two knockdowns in those performances.

Biggest Ball(s) Award: Melvin Guillard has been punching above his weight for a long time in the UFC. To date Guillard has 12 knockdowns, putting him 3rd all-time in the UFC behind Anderson Silva and Chuck Liddell. Not bad for a lightweight.

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CagePotato Databomb #4: Breaking Down the UFC Featherweights by Striking Performance


(Click chart for full-size versionFor previous Databombs, click here.)

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

Last week, we started our series on UFC strikers by breaking down the smallest division in key striking metrics. This week, in time for the Featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar at UFC 156, we’ll look at the 145’ers. A full explanation of the chart and variables is included below.

The Winners

Sniper Award: Cub Swanson has been on a roll lately and tops out as the division’s most accurate striker, landing 37% of his power head strike attempts. For perspective, that’s bordering on Anderson Silva-type accuracy, at least statistically. This has helped Swanson win three straight in the UFC, all by (T)KO, and pick up two straight Knockout of the Night bonuses.

Energizer Bunny Award: Southpaw Erik Koch has more than doubled the striking output of his opponents. But that wasn’t enough to stop the ground Hellbows from Ricardo Lamas on last Saturday’s FOX card. There’s no doubt about Koch’s skills, he’ll just have to wait longer to test them against the current champ.

Biggest Ball(s) Award: Andy Ogle may cry a lot when he’s away from home, but no one should doubt the size of his, ahem, heart. Though he dropped a split decision in his UFC debut against Akira Corassani, he managed to knock down the Swede despite landing only two solid strikes to the head. He’d better improve his accuracy and pull the trigger more often if he hopes to get past the similarly gun-shy yet powerful Josh Grispi at UFC on FUEL 7 next month. Other notable featherweights with knockdown power include Koch, Aldo, Dennis Siver and Dennis Bermudez.

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CagePotato Databomb #3: Breaking Down the UFC Flyweights by Striking Performance

(Click chart for full-size versionFor previous Databombs, click here.)

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

The UFC flyweights comprise the smallest division — both in size, and in numbers — but they’ll get a prominent showcase this Saturday at UFC on FOX 6, as Demetrious Johnson defends his title against John Dodson. So how do Mighty Mouse and the Magician stack up against the rest of their 125-pound competition? Analyzing an entire UFC weight class with a point-in-time assessment allows us to see how fighters might perform against each other, even though they may not meet in the Octagon for a long time (if ever). And since every fight starts standing up, we’ll also start with striking.

The Analysis:

In order to understand standup striking performance, which is more multifaceted in MMA than it is in boxing, I need to boil down a few of the most important variables that determine success as a striker. These are fairly uncomplicated variables in isolation, but together they can summarize a fighter’s overall capabilities. Here, I’ve focused on three fundamental, offensive metrics:

Accuracy: I’ve used power head-striking accuracy (as opposed to body or leg strikes, or jabs to the head), where the average for UFC Flyweights is about 25%. Certainly, great strikers can attack the body and legs, but the most likely way to end a fight by strikes is by aiming at the head. The accuracy of the power head strike is a great indicator of a fighter’s striking prowess, and there’s a wide range within a single division, as we’ll see. This is the vertical axis, so more accurate fighters are higher in the graph.

Standup Striking Pace: Prior analysis reveals that outpacing your opponent is a key predictor of success, and certainly correlates with winning decisions as it reflects which fighter is dictating the pace of the fight. Here, I’ve used the total number of standup strikes thrown as a ratio to the same output from a fighter’s opponents. All strikes attempted from a standup position are counted, including body shots and leg kicks. This is the horizontal axis in the graph, and the average for the whole division must be 1, so fighters with superior pace appear further to the right.

Knockdown Rate: The objective of every strike thrown is to hurt your opponent, and knockdowns reflect which fighters connect with the most powerful strikes. I’ve used the total number of knockdowns a fighter has landed in their matches*, divided by the number of power head strikes landed to see who does the most damage per strike. The size of the bubble for a fighter indicates their relative knockdown rate; the bigger the bubble, the higher their knockdown rate. The very small bubbles indicate fighters who have yet to score a knockdown in their Zuffa fights.

* The data includes all UFC, WEC, and Strikeforce fights through UFC 155 on December 29th, 2012. Many of these fighters competed in other higher weight classes, but for the purposes of this analysis, that data was still included and analyzed.

Now that we know how to interpret the chart, let’s see which fighters stand out…

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Jon Fitch Has Landed More Strikes Than Any Other UFC Fighter in History, and Other Bizarre Facts

Longest UFC Fights Edgar Sherk

Aside from being the decisionest decisioner who ever decisioned, UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch also holds the record for the most total strikes landed in the Octagon — a staggering 1973, according to the new UFC Official Records page on FightMetric.com. Georges St. Pierre is a close second to Fitch with 1924 total strikes, but comes in first on the “Significant Strikes Landed” leaderboard with 892; Jon Fitch isn’t even in the top ten on that one.

Also surprising: Because of their multiple title fights and frequent decisions, Frank Edgar and Sean Sherk have average fight times of over 15 minutes. Plus, Anderson Silva is just one knockdown away from catching Chuck Liddell’s record of 14 KDs, Cheick Kongo has the fifth-best takedown accuracy in the UFC, and the hardest-to-hit fighter in UFC history isn’t Lyoto Machida or Georges St. Pierre — it’s TUF 4 vet Pete Spratt, who only ate 0.89 shots per minute during his 3-4 stint in the Octagon. (Yes, GSP is currently in second place on that list too.) Check out a few more notable FightMetric charts after the jump, and see the rest right here.

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