UFC on Fox 25 Fight Forecast

Fight Forecast previews the event by providing the fighter's career StrikeScore as well as UFC Fantasy predictions, betting odds, DraftKings prices and Fight Matrix rankings.

StrikeScore is a proprietary stat that measures striking efficiency. The formula uses Fightmetric data, so fighters without fights in the database are not included. Also, a fighter must have at least three fights in the database before the formula can considered at all predictive.

UFC Fantasy and Tapology numbers are the percent of players who have picked each fighter to win. (Numbers are current as of July 20 at 11:00 a.m. ET)

Odds is the betting line of 5Dimes taken from BestFightOdds.com. (Numbers are current as of July 20 at 11:00 a.m. ET)

DraftKings prices listed below are the dollar value used for the fantasy game. Also listed are the average points scored by the fighter in the fantasy game. For a breakdown of DraftKings scoring click here.

Fight Matrix column represents the fighter's current unbiased and objective ranking.

In this case, the period used for Rankings Momentum was 10/1/2015 to 7/1/2017. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. 

UFC Fight Night 94 Fight Forecast

Fight Forecast previews the event by providing the fighter's career StrikeScore as well as UFC Fantasy predictions, betting odds, DraftKings prices and Fight Matrix rankings. In the following table, predicted winners are in blue and predicted losers are in red. 

StrikeScore is a proprietary stat that measures striking efficiency. The formula uses Fightmetric data, so fighters without fights in the database are not included. Also, a fighter must have at least three fights in the database before the formula can considered at all predictive.

UFC Fantasy and Tapology numbers are the percent of players who have picked each fighter to win. (Numbers are current as of 9/16/2016 11:30 AM EST)

Odds is the betting line of 5Dimes taken from BestFightOdds.com. (Numbers are current as of 9/16/2016 11:30 AM EST)

DraftKings prices listed below are the dollar value used for the fantasy game. Also listed are the average points scored by the fighter in the fantasy game. For a breakdown of DraftKings scoring click here.

Fight Matrix column represents the fighter's current unbiased and objective ranking.

In this case, the period used for Rankings Momentum was 10/1/2014 to 7/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. 

*Fighter with less than three fights in FightMetric database

*Fighter with less than three fights in FightMetric database

Since falling to Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier has outlanded his opponents 159 to 79.

Michael Johnson does not really differentiate himself from his opponents. His opponents land nearly as many sig strikes per minute as he does (3.46-3.89). His opponents land 40 percent of their sig strikes, while Johnson only lands 35.

Uriah Hall is 1-4 in UFC fights that go to decision. Hall’s ranking jumped up significantly following upset over Gegard Mousasi, which explains his 45.65 Rankings Momentum.

In his last three fights, Derek Brunson has outlanded his opponents 61 to 4 and scored three knockouts.

Evan Dunham throws a ton of volume. He lands a respectable number of sig strikes per minute, 5.37, while only landing 38 percent.

Rick Glenn’s ranking peaked at #17 after he defeated Georgi Karakhanyan for the WSOF title. It has since leveled off.

Since returning from an over six-year layoff in 2015, “Jucao” has landed one sig strikes in two UFC bouts.

Chris Wade had scored 11 takedowns without being taken down himself prior to his last fight. Against Rustam Khabilov, he failed to land a takedown for the first time in his UFC career and allow Khabilov to land 6 of 9 takedown attempts.

Islam Makhachev’s UFC career has been a tale of two fights. In his debut, he thoroughly outstruck Leo Kuntz 32 to 7. However, in his last fight, he was knocked out on only three punches by Adriano Martins.

Chas Skelly has never really been much of a striker, but his last fight really hurt him from a numbers perspective. Against Darren Elkins, he was outstruck 104 to 27, which dropped his UFC per minute striking differential to -1.51.

Maximo Blanco and Skelly should be an interesting freestyle vs. folkstyle wrestling battle. Blanco has landed 11 takedowns in his UFC/Strikeforce career. However, against the best wrestler he has faced, Pat Healy, he allowed five takedowns and fell via submission.

So far in his UFC career, Gabriel Benitez has avoided 71 percent of his opponent’s strikes. However, Andre Fili only needed to landed 16 sig strikes to finish him at UFC Fight Night 78.

Like most fighters with a StrikeScore under 100, Sam Sicilia lands fewer sig strikes than his opponents (2.74 slpm vs 3.33) and at a worse rate (37 percent to 43)

Augusto Montano has been takedown and had his guard passed in both of his UFC fights and Chris Heatherly and Cathal Pendred.

In his UFC debut, Belal Muhammad landed over five sig strikes per minute and absorbed over five sig strikes per minute. Against Alan Jouban, defense was optional.

Antonio Carlos Junior is returning to action after suffering his first career knockout loss against Daniel Kelly.

In his UFC debut, Leonardo Leleco was outstruck 64 to 57 by Anthony Smith. However, he got into a groove in the third round. In the final frame, he outlanded Smith 39 to 6.

Jose Quinonez picked up his first career submission victory over Leonardo Morales in his last outing.

In his UFC debut, Joey Gomez struggled. Rob Font landed 52 sig strikes and finished him late in the second round.

Erick Montano landed two takedowns in his UFC debut against Enrique Marin, but he landed zero sig strikes on the ground.

Randy Brown’s striking game was shut down in his last fight by the wrestling of Michael Graves. However, Brown successfully defended five of seven takedown attempts and absorbed only 11 sig strikes.

Alejandro Perez scored the highest StrikeScore of the year (11800) against Ian Entwistle. In the fight, he landed 48 sig strikes while absorbing none. 

After making his professional debut in 2015, Albert Morales broke into the Fight Matrix rankings at #444 featherweight after defeating Anthony Paredes at World Series of Fighting 28.

UFC Fight Night 87 Fight Forecast

Any attempt at using analytics in sports is going to be hampered by varying levels of competition. This is even more of an issue in combat sports. Fighters can build immaculate records without facing any real opposition or pad their striking stats against tomato cans.

In the main event of UFC Fight Night 87, Alistair Overeem holds the career StrikeScore advantage over Andrei Arlovski 309 to 157 respectively. The proprietary stat, in its raw form, measures striking efficiency without opponent adjustment. Overeem’s score is one of the highest recorded, but since the stat uses data from all bouts in the Fight Metric database, it includes fights like the Reem’s 36-second knockout of professional wrestler Tomohiko Hashimoto.

So, to cut through the noise and provide a clearer picture of this fight, we have implemented the following strategies. The first step is to compare the performance of Overeem and Arlovski against the rest of the ranked fighters in the UFC heavyweight division. Second, for this exercise we will only include the last five fights listed in the database. Third, we will measure not just striking performance but also level of competition.

The end result is the following scatter plot. The X axis is the average Fight Matrix rankings of the fighter’s last five opponents (with No. 1 being best), while the Y axis is the average of the fighter’s last five StrikeScores.

As you can see Arlovski has faced slightly better competition, but Overeem blows him away in terms of striking performance. Striking wise, Overeem is the big favorite and that is reflected in the betting odds.

Also of note, the large cluster of points shows that the UFC continually does a good job of making fights between top fighters. In boxing, or even other MMA promotions, the dots would most likely be more spread along the X axis.

Fight Forecast


Other Notes:

That’s her?
Before signing with Strikeforce in 2011, Germaine de Randamie was probably best known in the U.S. as a viral video star of sorts. She faced male Belgian actor Tom Waes in a kickboxing match and scored a pretty sweet knockout

Mad Dog Ground Game
Reza Madadi has been unable to capture a UFC victory unless he catches a submission. Yan Cabral is a much more classically trained grappler and has never been tapped in MMA. On top of that, Cabral has cut down to lightweight after starting his career at middleweight and that size advantage will pay dividends in a grappling battle. 

Race to be the second best flyweight
If you throw out his title challenge against Demetrious Johnson, Kyoji Horiguchi has the sig strike advantage over his opposition 248-134. In terms of common opponent, both Horiguchi and Neil Seery have scored stoppage victories over Jon Delos Reyes. Horiguchi knocked him out in 2014, while Seery scored a second-round submission last fall.

Sailing in Dangerous Waters
Leon Edwards
has looked pretty solid in the UFC when he was not stuck on the bottom against Kamaru Usman. This fight will likely play out on the feet, which is bad news for Dominic Waters. In his two UFC fights, he has been outstruck 60 to 13 in sig strikes and he failed to land in his last fight against Dong Hyun Kim.

Negative Scores
Both Yuta Sasaki and Willie Gates have negative StrikeScores after three fights in the Octagon. Sasaki is mostly a grappler, while Gates has engaged in some ill advised brawls. The opener will be an interesting contrast between refined ground skill and physicality.