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UFC 168 Tweet-Sized Stats & Facts: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

(Image via @spideranderson. Click to view full-size.)

By Reed Kuhn

Note: Reed’s book ‘Fightnomics’ is available now on Amazon (in Kindle and paperback versions), featuring 336 pages of statistical analysis on UFC fighters and the “hidden science” behind their fights. If you’ve been a fan of his Databomb columns, pick up a copy today. A full description of the book is at the end of this post.

While cranking through some statistical analysis of fighters competing at next weekend’s UFC 168 event, I came across a few tidbits that fit the character limit for tweetability. Tweet ‘em all you want, I’ll make more.

The Good:
Anderson Silva has the highest Knockdown Rate of any fighter at #UFC168. 16% of his landed power head strikes cause a knockdown.

• In terms of Knockdown Rate, #UFC168 fighters Robert Peralta (14%) and Travis Browne (12%) are also way above average.

• Tibau vs Johnson at #UFC168 will be a rare Southpaw vs. Southpaw matchup, or what I call a “Cyclone fight” due to the clockwise spin.

• Mostly likely to attempt takedowns at #UFC168 is Ronda Rousey who attempts 4 TDs per 5 min. round. Not that her rounds ever last that long.

• The most active standup striker at #UFC168 is Dennis Siver, who outworks his opponents by 59% in volume while standing.

• Hardest fighter to hit at #UFC168 is Anderson Silva, who avoids 82% of all head strikes thrown at him. Still, Weidman may only need one.

• Highest takedown defense at #UFC168 are Weidman & Browne, both 100%. Neither have been taken down despite each facing 7 attempts.

• The best takedown defense at #UFC168 is really Gleison Tibau at 92% against 62 total opponent attempts; he ranks #2 all-time behind GSP.

• Ronda Rousey has 0.72 submission attempts for every minute she has spent on the ground; closest 2nd at #UFC168 is Jim Miller at 0.37.

• Jim Miller has more total submission attempts in the UFC than any other fighter at #UFC168 with 29. One more & he wins an Octagon toaster.

• Denis Siver has the biggest pace advantage at #UFC168. He averages 12.8 Significant Strikes attempts/min, while Gamburyan averages 5.4.

• At 80.5” Uriah Hall will have the longest reach of any fighter at #UFC168, and >7” reach advantage over his opponent Chris Leben.

The Bad:
• Women’s champion Ronda Rousey will have the shortest reach of any fighter on the #UFC168 card at 66 inches. #irrelevant

• Weidman, Camoes, Brandao & Hall will all be facing southpaws. Generally, orthodox fighters fare a little worse when facing southpaws.

• The lowest paced standup striker at #UFC168 is Diego Brandao, who throws >40% fewer standup strike attempts than his opponents

• Lowest takedown defense at #UFC168 is Miesha Tate who only defended 1/5 attempts for 20%. Camoes not far behind (25%). But small samples.

• When fighting on the ground, Michael Johnson, Robert Peralta and Anderson Silva all mostly end up on their backs #UFC168

• Jim Miller and John Howard have both been swept for a ground position reversal 6 times by opponents, more than other fighters at #UFC168.

• 170’er William Macario is the only #UFC fighter ever who actually goes by the name “William.” There were 3 “Will”s though, and a “Willamy.”

The Ugly:
• Worst head striking defense at #UFC168 is Bobby Voelker, who only defends 57% of head strikes by opponents. Anderson Silva’s is best (82%).

• Both Rousey & Tate have very low head strike defense, meaning if they stand and trade they’re both going to look less pretty. #UFC168

• Denis Siver has suffered 6 knockdowns in his UFC career, more than anyone at #UFC168, despite having above average head strike defense.

• At 38.7 years old, Anderson Silva is the oldest fighter at #UFC168, meaning he is less likely to be submitted, but more likely to be KO’d.

• The worst Knockdown Resiliency rating at #UFC168 is Miesha Tate at 91%. She has suffered 3 knockdowns in Strikeforce/UFC.

• Despite having been KO’d by Weidman, Silva is still a -150 favorite at #UFC168, on par with when he fought Henderson -145 & Marquardt -150.

• Fabricio Camoes has the worst relative striking overall at #UFC168. His stats are below average in accuracy, power, pace & cage control.

• The final prelim bout pits some of the best head strike defense (Hall) vs some of the worst (Leben). Lots at stake in that fight. #UFC168


Book description, via Amazon:

Fightnomics quantifies the underlying drivers of the world’s most exciting and fastest growing sport through deep analysis of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition. Part Freakonomics and part Moneyball, Fightnomics is a statistical spotlight on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and the fighters who compete in the Octagon.

Does size matter?

Is the Southpaw Advantage real for MMA?

Is it better to be young or experienced in a fight?

How is the UFC Tale of the Tape lying to us?

What makes a strike significant?

What about Ring Rust, Octagon Jitters, or the Home Cage Advantage?

Just how accurate are betting odds?

Theories about how MMA works get put to the test with a little bit of science, and a whole lot of numbers. Fightnomics is the deepest and most complete analysis to date of historical UFC data that answers common, yet hotly debated questions about the sport. The fight game will never quite look the same once you’ve learned what really matters in a cage fight, and even a few surprising things that don’t.

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