Bellator 184 Fight Forecast

Fight Forecast is a recurring series at StrikeScoreMMA.com that provides a stats based preview of upcoming events. Since striking stats are not available outside the UFC, we need to get a bit creative. The following uses Fight Matrix rankings, peak rank, Tapology user votes, betting odds and Rankings Momentum.

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 includedTapology scores are as of Oct. 6 at 9:30 a.m. ET. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of Oct. 6 at 9:30 a.m. ET.

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Bellator 167 Fight Forecast

Fight Forecast is a recurring series at StrikeScoreMMA.com that provides a stats based preview of upcoming events. Since striking stats are not available outside the UFC, we need to get a bit creative. The following uses Fight Matrix rankings, peak rank, Tapology user votes, betting odds and Rankings Momentum.

In this case, the period used for Rankings Momentum was 1/1/2015 to 10/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. Tapology scores are as of Dec. 2 at 8:22 a.m. ET. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of Dec. 2 at 8:20 a.m. ET.

On the Spike.com undercard, Jarod Trice will make his MMA debut. He is the latest Bellator crossover from wrestling. Trice was a three-time All-American at Central Michigan with his best finish being 4th at heavyweight in 2011. Since college he has competed extensively in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. At heavyweight, he had impressive skill, movement and athleticism. Towards the end of his wrestling career, he dropped down a weight class, and he will compete in MMA at 205. It remains to be seen if he will still have those advantages at a lower weight class.

Bellator 159 Fight Forecast

Fight Forecast is a recurring series at StrikeScore that provides a stats based preview of upcoming events. The following uses Fight Matrix rankings, peak rank, Tapology user votes, betting odds and Rankings Momentum.

In this case, the period used for Rankings Momentum was 7/1/2014 to 4/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. Tapology scores are as of July 21 at 3:00 p.m. EST. Bettings odds are from 5Dimes via BestFightOdds.com as of July 21 at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Friday is a pretty important night for Bellator. In the main event, Darrion Caldwell takes on Joe Taimanglo with a bantamweight title shot on the line. If Caldwell can win, it will set up one of the best fights Bellator has to offer. Current champion Eduardo Dantas is ranked #4 by Fight Matrix while Caldwell comes in at #8. A matchup between two top-ten fighters is a big deal for Bellator considering the UFC's stranglehold on talent.

Taimanglo is much lower ranked, and he is not getting very much respect from the bookmakers or the Tapology users. It seems like a bit of a squash, but the chance of an upset is always high in Bellator.

For more background on Caldwell, check out the Film Study StrikeScoreMMA put together prior to Bellator 151.

Nate Diaz's attacking submission game and other notes from UFC 196 and Bellator 151

During his UFC career, Diaz has collected 25 submission attempts and finished eight per FightMetric. A 32 percent finish rate does not seem all that impressive. However, let's consider that FightMetric does not count a submission attempt unless it is fully locked on. From that point of view, the fact that he has been able to score 25 near submissions in only 22 fights is rather impressive.

McGregor appeared ready to engage in a back-and-forth standing battle against Diaz. Perhaps this was not the best strategy. Diaz is now 10-3 in UFC fights in which he lands over 30 sig strikes. He has never loss a fight where he has landed over 70. The Stockton fighter appeared fresher in round two and the numbers bear that out. Diaz's attempted sig strike output increased from 62 to 90, while McGregor's went from 74 to 66. Perhaps this is why McGregor attempted his first takedown since 2014.

Miesha Tate pulls out victory despite her striking
Tate has always been successful despite her shortcomings in the striking game. She holds a 5-2 record in the UFC even though she has only posted one StrikeScore above 200 (against Rin Nakai). With that being said, her ability to win without striking superiority has never been more apparent than it was against Holm. Tate won with only a 60 StrikeScore. Her previous low score in a victory was 86 against Sara McMann. 

Obviously, MMA is more than just striking. However, it is still rare for a fighter to win with that much of a striking disparity. Of the 88 UFC winners so far this year, only nine have had scores lower than 60. Also remember that this list of winners includes questionable decisions such as Brad Pickett over Francisco Rivera, Michinori Tanaka over Joe Soto and Alex Morono over Kyle Noke.

FighterOpponentEventDateStrikeScore
Miesha TateHolly HolmUFC 1963/5/201660
Alex MoronoKyle NokeUFC 1951/2/201650
Donald CerroneAlex OliveiraUFC Fight Night 832/21/201642
Tony MartinFelipe OlivieriUFC on Fox 181/30/201641
Michinori TanakaJoe SotoUFC 1951/2/201628
Damon JacksonLevan MakashviliUFC on Fox 181/30/201626
Brad PickettFrancisco RiveraUFC Fight Night 842/27/201625
James KrauseShane CampbellUFC Fight Night 832/21/201624
Brian OrtegaDiego BrandaoUFC 1951/2/20163
Michael McDonaldMasanori KaneharaUFC 1951/2/2016-23

Jason Saggo posts the night's highest StrikeScore, enters 2016 Top Ten
Saggo's first round finish over Justin Salas earned him a 2173 StrikeScore which was the highest of the night. It is also the seventh highest score so far this year. In the fight, Saggo landed 20 sig strikes, while Salas only managed one.

RankFighterOpponentEventDateStrikeScore
1Anthony JohnsonRyan BaderUFC on Fox 181/30/20169500
1Chris 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
9Chris WadeMehdi BaghdadUFC Fight Night 811/17/2016590
10Tom BreeseKeita NakamuraUFC Fight Night 842/27/2016579

Darrion Caldwell makes a statement
Caldwell planted a world champion Greco-Roman wrestler with a German suplex. That right there is a pretty incredible accomplishment. With his victory over Joe Warren, Caldwell moved up 13 spots in the Fight Matrix rankings to 6. He is now the highest ranked bantamweight on the Bellator roster ahead of both Eduardo Dantas (7) and current champion Marcos Galvao (11). 

Bellator 151 Film Study: Darrion Caldwell vs. Brent Metcalf

On Friday, the round cage returns for Bellator 151. In the main event, NCAA champion Darrion Caldwell will take a big step up in competition against former bantamweight champion Joe Warren. Despite the difference in experience, Caldwell is the rightful favorite. Warren relies almost entirely on his wrestling, and he will have a hard time dominating in that realm against Caldwell.

During his collegiate days, Caldwell put together an impressive resume while wrestling for North Carolina State. He finished his run as a two-time All-American with a 109-13 record. The highlight of his career was an upset of Brent Metcalf in the 149-pound final of 2009 NCAA tournament.

Metcalf went on to be a regular on the U.S. freestyle world team. While Caldwell is one of the brightest prospects in the Bellator bantamweight division. Following the video is a stats breakdown of the famous match that highlights Caldwell's wrestling prowess. Also, savor the opportunity to hear the late, great Jeff Blatnick on commentary.)

Offensive Takedowns: 2 for 4
Caldwell starts things off with a takedown right off the bat. He uses his reach advantage to score from the outside without much of a set up. Later he uses a headlock throw to get behind and score the two points. Warren, as a Greco-Roman specialist often tries to bully his opponents into the cage with upper-body clinches. With the potential for throws like Caldwell's headlock, that might not be the best strategy.

Defense and Counter Takedowns: Defended 7 of 8 TDs, 2 counter TDs
After two first period takedowns, Caldwell had to deal with a hard charging opponent. Metcalf attempted eight committed takedowns, but was only able to secure one once the outcome of the match was determined. Plus, Caldwell scored a pair of counter takedowns that came after he defended his opponent's shots. Scrambling in MMA is different than in wrestling due to submissions and lack of point scoring. However, against Warren this will not be much of an issue. As previously stated, Warren is still mostly a wrestler and should not threaten Caldwell with submissions in a scramble situation.

Control Time: 2 Minutes
In the seven-minute match, Caldwell was in the top position for two full minutes. Control position in MMA is different because of the cage. Warren succeeds by pushing his opponent into the c age to set up takedowns and hold position. Caldwell's wrestling background will most likely neutralize this strategy.