John Dodson brings power to the Bantamweight Division and other notes from UFC on Fox 19

Dodson returned to the bantamweight division with a huge first-round knockout over Manvel Gamburyan. The finish came only 47 seconds into the first round. The stoppage finish was his fifth so far in his UFC career. Dodson lands a KO every 67.4 sig strikes landed. The number puts him behind only Cody Garbrandt and Thomas Almeida among the fighters currently in the UFC’s bantamweight rankings.

FighterSig Strikes per KO
Garbrandt62
Almeida66.33
Dodson67.4
Eduardo94
McDonald104.5
Wineland107
Lineker122
Rivera156
Dillashaw160.8
Sterling163
Barao284
Faber413.5
Assuncao565
Cruz693
Mizugaki780
Caraway0 KOs
Saenz0 KOs

Khabib Nurmagomedov enters the 2016 Most Efficient Striking Performance Top Ten
Against Darrell Horcher, Nurmagomedov made his return in style. He landed a career best 75 sig strikes, while absorbing only 6, en route to picking up only his second UFC knockout victory. The performance earned him a 1573 StrikeScore, which is good enough for 10th best in 2016.

Updated list of the 10 Most Efficient Striking Performances in the UFC of the year

RankFighterOpponentEventDateStrikeScore
1Alejandro PerezIan EntwistleUFC Fight Night 864/10/201611800
2Anthony JohnsonRyan BaderUFC on Fox 181/30/20169500
2Chris CamozziJoe RiggsUFC Fight Night 832/21/20169500
4Derek BrunsonRoan CarneiroUFC Fight Night 832/21/20166800
5Damian StasiakFilip PejicUFC Fight Night 864/10/20166700
6Teemu PackalenThibault GoutiUFC Fight Night 842/27/20165900
7Oluwale BamgboseDaniel SarafianUFC Fight Night 832/21/20164800
8Sheldon WestcottEdgar GarciaUFC 1951/2/20163424
9Jason SaggoJustin SalasUFC 1963/5/20162173
10Khabib NurmagomedovDarrrell HorcherUFC on Fox 194/16/20161573

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. The Level of Competition
As previously stated, Nurmagomedov set his personal best for sig strikes landed in a fight. He did it against Horcher who also happens to be the lowest ranked fighter that he has ever faced in the UFC. A common complaint from fans about the Dagestani wrestler is that he sticks to his wrestling against higher level competition and does not do damage with his striking. If this is to be believed, there should be a correlation between an opponent’s ranking and Nurmagomedov’s StrikeScore. The following scatter plot attempts to depict said correlation.

As you can see, the linear regression line (blue) does seem to have a negative trajectory as the level of competition increases. Since the R squared is as low as 0.1872, the relationship is clearly not linear, but there does seem to be some sort of a trend. Then again, that is to be expected. Tougher fights are just that. To simplify, we could simply say, Nurmagomedov has never scored a StrikeScore higher than 186 when facing off against a fighter in the top 20. With that being said, he has still been able to pick up wins over all of his opponents including current champion Rafael dos Anjos, and that is what really matters in the end.

Hacran Dias is mostly a one-round striker
Last week, StrikeScoreMMA noted that Dias has never landed more sig strikes than his opponent in a UFC fight. That trend continued on Saturday, and Dias dropped a decision to Cub Swanson. The Team Nova Uniao product looked solid in the first round and led the sig striking battle 20-18. However, after that it was all Swanson.

Over the course of his UFC career, this has been the consistent story for Dias. He has outlanded opponents 81-75 in first rounds but fallen behind 92-48 in second rounds and 84-63 in thirds.

In fact, Dias’ sig strike differential (Dias sig strikes minus opponent sig strikes) has declined in four out of his six fights inside the Octagon. Dias will need to find a way to keep momentum following the first round if he was to keep his job in the UFC.

Michael Chiesa is a dangerous finisher from dominant positions
It is fitting that Chiesa made his UFC debut with a rear-naked choke submission over Al Iaquinta. His calling card in the promotion has been his ability to take the back, hold the position and apply the submission. That trend continued on Saturday. After falling behind Beneil Dariush, he stormed back in the second round to finish by submission.

During his UFC run, Chiesa has finished nearly 63 percent of his submission attempts. He has done so with only 17 dominant positions. His submission per pass ratio is 29 percent. It is safe to say Chiesa is a deadly finisher.

Tecia Torres registers 4th highest StrikeScore in decision loss in 2016
For people who like numbers, the Torres-Rose Namajunas fight is an interesting one. The fight took place mostly on the feet. After an even first round (14-14), Torres outstruck her opponent 28-23 and 19-9 in the final two rounds. However, Namajunas still walked away with a decision that has not been considered on the worst of the year.

Obviously, numbers are not everything. All strikes are not created equal. Of Torres’ significant strikes in the final two rounds 26 of 47 were to the legs, and we all know leg kicks “certainly don’t” finish fights.

The bottom line is that Torres did not take home the decision. However, she can take solace in the fact that she registered the fourth highest StrikeScore by a fighter to lose a decision in 2016.

FighterOpponentEventDateStrikeScore
Joe SotoMichinori TanakaUFC 1951/2/2016235
Shane CampbellJames KrauseUFC Fight Night 832/21/2016224
Francisco RiveraBrad PickettUFC Fight Night 842/27/2016223
Tecia TorresRose NamajunasUFC on Fox 194/16/2016205

Time for Rashad Evans to hang it up?
Obviously, Evans did not look like himself on Saturday against Glover Teixeira. He last less than two minutes before falling by knockout. The calls for his retirement started almost immediately in the MMA blogosphere, but are the calls warranted?

Sure Evans has looked dreadful since returning from a laundry list of injuries, but has he really endured that much punishment compared to his contemporaries. After all, he has only been knocked out twice in his entire career. Let’s compare the number of sig strikes he has absorbed with the rest of the UFC’s ranked fighters.

Strikes Absorbed in UFC/StrikeScore 2011 to Present

FighterStrikes Absorbed
Villante620
Gustafsson420
Rua395
Cormier382
Teixeira344
Jones331
Evans302
Saint Preux241
Bader192
Anderson177
Manuwa163
Cummins150
Nogueira134
Latifi120
Johnson79
Krylov61

As you can see, Evans has absorbed the seventh most sig strikes among ranked fighters since 2011. On top of that, due to injuries, he has only fought six times during the span. Only Antonio Rogerio Nogueira has fought less often (5). During this time period, he has been absorbing nearly 38 sig strikes per fight, which is fourth worst in the division.