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By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics
The UFC Middleweight division has long been ruled by the most feared and successful striker in MMA history, champion Anderson Silva. And perhaps more so than in smaller divisions, striking has been a good predictor of success at Middleweight. So examining this division in core striking performance metrics should provide good insight to how fighters will fare against each other in standup. A full explanation of the chart and variables is included at the end of this post.
But first, let’s see how the whole division stacks up against each other, and look at the winners and losers.
Sniper Award: Two fights into his UFC career, cross-trained Dutchman Michael Kuiper has landed 49% of his power head strikes. We’ll see if he can maintain this in his upcoming matchup with veteran brawler Tom Lawlor in Sweden. Honorable mention must be given to Anderson Silva who has maintained 40% accuracy over his lengthy and dominant career. And also noteworthy is Italian boxer, Alessio Sakara, currently on the bench for health reasons.
Energizer Bunny Award: Strikeforce veteran Roger Gracie has been almost doubling the striking output of opponents on his way to a string of submission wins in typical Gracie fashion. Some grapplers use strikes to set up their mat-work, others don’t. Honorable mentions go to former champ Rich Franklin, and Strikeforce champ and crossover contender Luke Rockhold, who each tend to outpace their opponents by over 80%.
Biggest Ball(s) Award: The UFC record holder for knockdowns is Anderson Silva. He is literally the best in the business at dropping dudes. Statistically, when Silva lands a power head strike, there’s a 27% chance it will result in a knockdown, which is just ridiculous. These skills have won him Knockout of the Night honors seven times in the UFC.