Mark Hunt walks off and other notes from UFC Fight Night 85, NCAA Finals and UR Fight

Even at 41 Hunt still has the power. His knockout over Mir earned him a 1220 StrikeScore, which is one of the best scores so far this year (see below). During his MMA career, Hunt has won 12 fights and nine have come by way of knockout. In the UFC, he has scored six knockouts. In those he averaged a little over 20 sig strikes per knockout. Against Mir, he needed to land only 8 sig strikes to finish the fight.

Frank Mir still top ten, because heavyweight MMA (sigh)
With the victory, Hunt moved up four spots in the Fight Matrix heavyweight rankings. On the other hand, Mir stayed right at number 10. (Link) The former champion does not look to be at the top of his game and this past fight appeared to be another stage in his decline. The calls for him to retire are getting louder. However, he is still a top-ten fighter in the heavyweight division and there are still guys on the UFC roster he can defeat.

Neil Magny Comeback Visualized
In round one, Hector Lombard came extremely close to finishing the fight. He was all over Magny and a lot of referees would have stepped in. He landed 50 sig strikes at an 80 percent clip. In the second round, Magny flipped the script and landed 114 sig strikes at an 80 percent clip. The StrikeScore by round graph visualizes the comeback perfectly.

The lack of 10-8 rounds in Magny-Lombard is an affront to humanity
As previously stated, the first two rounds of this fight were one-sided beatdowns. Each round was a clear 10-8. However, none of the three judges had it that way on the cards. Evan Field, Barry Foley and Kon Papaioannou need to be examined for the possible head injury. In round one, Lombard scored a 384 StrikeScore, which is clear domination. In round two, Magny scored a 1456 StrikeScore, which is higher than all but eight full fight scores in 2016. Opponents of the “10-point must system” often assert that the system is outdated or not a good fit for MMA. However, if judges are the type to not even recognize back-to-back 10-8 rounds than hopes for good judging are out of the window regardless of whatever scoring system is in place.

Updated Top Ten Striking Performance of 2016 (March Striker of the Month)
Mark Hunt and Steve Bosse entered the rankings for top striking performances in 2016 with first round knockouts at UFC Fight Night 87. However, Jason Saggo’s performance against Justin Salas held onto the top spot in the month of March, so earns the award.

1Anthony JohnsonRyan BaderUFC on Fox 181/30/20169500
2Chris CamozziJoe RiggsUFC Fight Night 832/21/20169500
3Derek BrunsonRoan CarneiroUFC Fight Night 832/21/20166800
4Teemu PackalenThibault GoutiUFC Fight Night 842/27/20165900
5Oluwale BamgboseDaniel SarafianUFC Fight Night 832/21/20164800
6Sheldon WestcottEdgar GarciaUFC 1951/2/20163424
7Jason SaggoJustin SalasUFC 1963/5/20162173
8Derrick LewisDamian GrabowskiUFC Fight Night 822/6/20161539
9Mark HuntFrank MirUFC Fight Night 853/19/20161220
10Steve BosseJames Te HunaUFC Fight Night 853/19/2016793

Wrestling Most Dominant
This past week’s NCAA Division I wrestling tournament was one of the best on record. The finals were highlighted by the anticipated heavyweight title match between two-time NCAA champion Nick Gwiazdowski of NC State and reigning world champion Kyle Snyder of Ohio State. With that being said, Penn State’s Zain Retherford was clearly the most dominant wrestler in the field. He won the 149-pound bracket. Along the way he picked up three falls, a technical fall and a major decision in the finals. Check out the WPE for each champion below. You can read about WPE, which measure dominance, here.

Nico Megaludis, Penn State91.74
Nahshon Garrett, Cornell97.09
Dean Heil, Oklahoma State87.94
Zain Retherford, Penn State99.16
Isaiah Martinez, Illinois89.64
Alex Dieringer, Oklahoma State96.85
Myles Martin, Ohio State81.67
Gabe Dean, Cornell92.45
J'Den Cox, Missouri98.82
Kyle Snyder, Ohio State89.01

Kyle Snyder’s Offensive Persistence
One of the things that makes Snyder so successful is his relentless offensive pressure. He continually comes forward and goes for leg attacks. Against Gwiazdowski, he did not have his normal success, but he continued to come forward. He attempted seven committed takedowns and only landed two. He actually gave up points on two of his attacks, but the persistent pressure got it done in overtime. See the finish below.

Bec Rawlings vs. Seo Hee Ham Decision
There did not seem to be a lot of dissension inside the MMA blogosphere about this decision. On the broadcast, the announcers told the story that Rawlings was landing the harder shots, while Ham was landing with more volume. Rawlings gassed pretty obviously after round one and got outclassed on the feet after that. It is possible she stole round two with some ground work. The fact that two of three judges gave round three to Rawlings is a bit disturbing since it seemed like the easiest of the rounds to score.

Ross Pearson vs. Chad Laprise Decision
Laprise out-landed Pearson and scored the better StrikeScore in all three rounds. Normally when this happens in fights that are largely contested on the feet, the media scorecards on MMADecisions line up nicely with the StrikeScore. However, in this case, nine journos had it for Pearson and only five had it for Laprise. Statistically it is hard to account for quality of landed strikes, so it is possible that the judges and the majority of writers thought Pearson was landing the better strikes. Still, in all three rounds, Laprise was throwing more and landing at a similar percentage.

Strange to see Chael Sonnen in grappling matches
In the 19 fights on Sonnen’s record tracked by FightMetric, he has been submitted six times. That means that 32 percent of his fights have ended in submission defeat.His opponents have registered submission attempts against him 22 times. On one hand, you could say that he has avoided nearly 73 percent of submission attempts against him. On the other hand, it is important to remember that FightMetric considers submission attempts to be nearly successful locks or chokes, not simply someone throwing their legs up for a triangle. Plus, Sonnen has never avoided submission when an opponent has registered at least three submission attempts.

Considering his shortcomings in the submission game, it is odd that Sonnen has now competed in two high profile grappling matches. In 2014, he submitted to two-time ADCC Superfight champion André Galvão. This past weekend, he fought to a draw with Michael Bisping at the preposterous UR Fight event.

The bout with Bisping was largely uneventful. The two circled each other for much of the fight. Sonnen scored a takedown with less than a minute to go, but that was about it in terms of action. Sonnen has improved in the submission game over the course of his career, but it is still odd to see him in competitive grappling. The fact that grappling matches are outside the jurisdiction of athletic commissions means that fans should expect to see more bizarre fights in the future. For example, in April Rizin returns with Kazushi Sakuraba and Wanderlei Silva in tag team grappling action.