24 Jan 2013 13:19:52 PM
24 Jan 2013 13:19:52 PM
24 Jan 2013 07:59:51 AM
(Click chart for full-size version. For previous Databombs, click here.)
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.
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…Read More DIGG THIS
22 Jan 2013 12:57:14 PM
(“Thanks Jay. Joining me now backstage is none other than…uh…wait a minute. You’re Anderson Silva’s son, right?”)
If you’ve been watching the NFL playoffs on FOX over the last couple weekends, you’ve surely noticed the frequent UFC promos throughout the broadcasts hyping a “World Title Fight” on January 26th between “Johnson and Dodson.” At no point is the word “flyweight” ever mentioned — because that would be a turnoff to casual fans, I guess? — and in most of the live promos I’ve seen, Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson‘s first names aren’t even included. Basically, they’re hoping that the mere promise of a “title fight” will be enough to lure some football fans into tuning in this Saturday night, even if those viewers have no idea who the headliners are, or what belt they’ll be fighting for specifically.
By sticking to the ironclad rule that a title fight will always get headlining-priority no matter who else is fighting on the card — a policy that previously drew some fan-criticism when Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche was given the UFC 157 main event spot over Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida — the UFC has painted themselves into a corner. Johnson and Dodson simply aren’t as well-known, marketable, or admired as some of the other fighters competing at UFC on FOX 6, namely Quinton Jackson, Donald Cerrone, and Anthony Pettis.
It’s a problem, because TV ratings and buyrates are so closely tied to who’s headlining each event. Instead of perhaps making Rampage vs. Teixeira or Cerrone vs. Pettis the headliner, the UFC is choosing to keep things vague (“world title fight!” “Johnson!”) and hope for the best. We’ll see if that proves to be the right decision, or if the ratings will plunge compared to the strong showing of UFC on FOX 5. I know the UFC wants to pump up its budding flyweight division, but I can’t help wondering if they’re doing themselves a disservice when there’s so little heat around that weight class. Could they re-consider their “championship fight always gets the main event” policy down the road?
Since I’ve been thinking about this lately, I’ve decided to present my own rundown of which fights I’m actually looking forward to this weekend. If you see things differently, please hurl some abuse at me in the comments section. Let’s begin…Read More DIGG THIS
15 Jan 2013 15:00:02 PM
Oh boy, Taters, do we have some good news for you. Not only will next Saturday’s UFC on FOX 6 card feature such intriguing matchups as John Dodson vs. flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson, Rampage Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira, and Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis, but the event will also spotlight the return of longtime UFC commentator Mike Goldberg, who was recently pulled from the UFC 155 broadcast to deal with several health issues that had been affecting him for some time. MMAWeekly reports:
After a brief absence due to illness, Mike Goldberg will be back in his regular broadcast duties alongside Joe Rogan at UFC on Fox 6.
UFC officials confirmed Goldberg’s return to MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday.
In short, come next Saturday, the little eagle will soar again. Precisions, they will be precise. Books, they will be taken out of other people’s chapters. Japanese and Portuguese will combine into one beautiful, indistinguishable language. So prepare yourselves, Potato Nation, for a great deluge of cliched phrases and verbal diarrhea is coming.Read More DIGG THIS
4 Dec 2012 06:43:00 AM
(Even in the off-season, the dude stays in killer shape. Props: @ryanbader)
- As first reported by ESPN, light-heavyweights Ryan Bader and Vladimir Matyushenko will meet at UFC on FOX 6: Johnson vs. Dodson, January 26th in Chicago. Both guys are returning from being smashed in their last fights: Bader suffered a knockout loss to Lyoto Machida in August, while the Janitor has been sidelined due to injury since being TKO’d by Alexander Gustafsson last December.
- MMAWeekly reports that streaking heavyweights Stefan Struve and Mark Hunt will meet at the UFC’s next Japan event — UFC on Fuel 8, March 2nd at the Saitama Super Arena. The beanpole Dutchman and stocky Kiwi were originally scheduled to meet at UFC 146 back in May, but Hunt was forced to pull out of the fight on short notice with a knee injury.
A proven fight-finisher, Struve has stopped his last four opponents in the Octagon (Pat Barry, Dave Herman, Lavar Johnson, and Stipe Miocic), while Hunt has earned victories over his last three (Chris Tuchscherer, Ben Rothwell, and Cheick Kongo). Though Hunt will enjoy a sort of home-field advantage — he’s had nine previous MMA fights at the Saitama Super Arena, while Struve will be making his Japanese debut — he will also be giving up 13 inches (!) in height.Read More DIGG THIS
8 Nov 2012 13:22:05 PM
(We know, Clay, we had a hard time watching your last fight too.)
It’s looking like the crippling power of this year’s injury curse is going to be tested early come 2013, because the UFC’s first major network event of the year is currently stacked with more budding talent than a Miss Teen USA pageant. Aside from the Cerrone/Pettis, Jackson/Teixeira, and Dodson/Johnson fights that were announced earlier this week, the UFC has recently announced that Clay Guida will be making his featherweight debut against Hatsu Hioki at the same event as well.
Guida’s last performance saw him channel Steve Prefontaine for the majority of five rounds against Gray Maynard at UFC on FX 4, earning him his second straight loss at lightweight following his much more exciting loss to current champion Benson Henderson at the inaugural UFC on FOX event.
Despite the fact that he is coming off a close decision loss to Ricardo Lamas at the same event, there’s no denying that Hioki is still considered to be one of the top contenders at 145, so a win over Hatsu is not only essential for Guida — he has never dropped three straight in his MMA career — but would easily launch him up the list of potential contenders to boot. Let’s just hope he brings a more aggressive strategy against Hioki or we could be in for a long three rounds.
Also booked for UFC on FOX 6…Read More DIGG THIS
7 Nov 2012 06:32:36 AM
(…sit back there and say his jacket ain’t luxurious when you know it is, bitch.)
The UFC announced yesterday that its next UFC on FOX event — slated for January 26 at Chicago’s United Center — will be headlined by Demetrious Johnson‘s first flyweight title defense against TUF 14 winner John Dodson. Dodson has gone 2-0 at 125 pounds since his stint on the reality show, including his recent TKO of top contender Jussier Formiga.
But hey, maybe you don’t care about that sort of thing. Luckily, the UFC also confirmed that UFC on FOX 6 will feature the long-rumored lightweight tilt (and possible #1 contender match) between Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis, a guaranteed barnburner for which Cerrone has already promised to “pack a lunch.” Considering that Pettis has been out of action since February due to injuries, Cowboy might be the favorite here. Of course if he wins, Cerrone could be booked against a guy who already beat him twice in the WEC, or a guy who punked him as badly as any UFC fighter has ever been punked — which makes us wonder if this is one of those “#1 contender match for one guy but not necessarily the other”-type scenarios.
But wait, there’s more…Read More DIGG THIS