Conor McGregor makes history and other stat notes from the UFC's three-fight weekend

By now pretty much everyone has heard that the Irish champion finished former champion Jose Aldo in only 13 seconds. The victory is the fastest finish in a UFC title fight. His career StrikeScore improved from 286 to 289. The improvement, combined with Aldo’s decline in score, leaves McGregor as the fighter with the highest StrikeScore among UFC ranked featherweights. That sounds about right. StrikeScore is a proprietary stat that measures striking efficiency, read about it here.

McGregor has finished five of his six bouts inside the Octagon. Per Fightmetric, he has scored five knockouts by throwing only 216 significant strikes, which means he scores a knockout about every 43 significant strikes. To put that number into perspective, 12 different fighters landed more than 43 significant strikes at UFC 194 and only one of those fighters won via knockout. Plus, McGregor has registered a knockdown is all of his knockout victories, so he finishes are coming via power strikes and not an accumulation of shots over time.

Over the course of his WEC/UFC career, Aldo had absorbed 408 significant strikes. He had never been knocked out or knocked down. McGregor changed all that with only 5 landed strikes.

Luke Rockhold was already in control before Chris Weidman’s poorly conceived spinning back fist
A lot has been made about Weidman’s spinning back fist being the turning point in the middleweight title bout. It is an easy talking point, and it will certainly be talked about more. However, Weidman’s striking production completely fell off a cliff after the first round. It is impossible to know whether or not things would have gone the same without the back fist. However, according to StrikeScore, Rockhold had already taken control of the fight.

Rockhold vs. Weidman StrikeScore by Round

Grappling Masters Demian Maia and Ryan Hall nullified their opponent’s striking offense
Despite McGregor’s historic performance, it was not all good news for his team SBG. On Friday, Ryan Hall used his attacking grappling game to totally stifle Artem Lobov. For the fight, Lobov attempted only 11 significant strikes and landed only two. Despite never seeming close to finishing the fight via strikes, Hall earned a whopping 1361 StrikeScore in the performance.

On Saturday, Lobov’s teammate Gunnar Nelson faced off against grappling ace Demian Maia. Nelson managed to attempt only four significant strikes and, like his teammate, only land two. Maia was a little bit more threatening with strikes than Hall, which shows in his StrikeScore of 2412. In his last two fights, Maia has only absorbed two significant strikes. 

StrikeScore per round scoring in controversial decisions
First, let’s preface this. StrikeScore only take into account striking, so it can’t and shouldn’t be used as the only criteria to pick a winner. However, striking is a large part of MMA, so it is interesting to look at controversial decisions compared to the judges’ cards. Check out the invaluable for judges and media cards for all events.

Yoel Romero vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Official Winner: Romero (28-29, 29-27, 29-28)
Media Winner: Souza (11), Romero (2), Draw (3)

Romero vs. Jacare StrikeScore by Round

Yancy Medeiros vs. John Makdessi
Official Winner: Medeiros (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Media Winner: Makdessi (11), Medeiros (3)

Medeiros vs. Makdessi StrikeScore by Round

Ryan LaFlare vs. Mike Pierce
Official Winner: LaFlare (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Media Winner: LaFlare (7), Pierce (2)

LaFlare vs. Pierce StrikeScore by Round

Rose Namajunas prevents Paige VanZant's volume onslaught
Before last Thursday, VanZant had relied on her volume offensive striking to carry her to victories. Namajunas put a stop to that with better footwork and damaging blows. Coming into UFC Fight Night 80, VanZant had attempted 19 strikes per minute. Against Namajunas, she managed only 4 striking attempts per minute.

Referees need to stop encouraging stalling on the bottom
After the UFC’s resident bonus baby, Sage Northcutt was taken down by Cody Pfister, he had not interest in fighting or trying to get back to his feet. He simply latched onto Pfister and tried to prevent him from striking. Despite the stall tactic, Pfister was still able to land 30 of 33 strikes from the top position. The referee, Mark Smith still awarded the standup. After the stand up, Northcutt took down Pfister who immediately tried to start stalling as well.

Aljamain Sterling controls distance en route to another dominant win
Sterling’s wacky kicking offense did not appear to be doing very much. However, it allowed him to control the distance against a much more experienced striker in Johnny Eduardo. On the ground, Sterling had the clear advantage and finished the fight. He scored a 706 StrikeScore in the fight. In his UFC career, Sterling is absorbing less than 1 significant strike per minute. Unfortunately he is still one fight away from qualifying for Fightmetric records. Otherwise, he would take the crown as the fighter with the least strikes absorbed per minute in history of the promotion.