UFC Fight Night 120 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 Nov. 11 at 11:30 a.m. ET)

Odds is the betting line of 5Dimes taken from BestFightOdds.com. (Numbers are current as of Nov. 11 at 11:30 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 1/1/2016 to 10/1/2017. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. 

*Fewer than three fights in the FightMetric database

*Fewer than three fights in the FightMetric database

UFC Fight Night 108 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 April 20 at 4:00 p.m. ET)

Odds is the betting line of 5Dimes taken from BestFightOdds.com. (Numbers are current as of April 20 at 4:00 p.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 7/1/2015 to 4/1/2017. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. 

UFC 200 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 7/9/2016 1:25 PM EST)

Odds is the betting line of 5Dimes taken from BestFightOdds.com. (Numbers are current as of 7/9/2016 1:25 PM EST)

DraftKings prices listed below are the dollar value used for the fantasy game.

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

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. 

Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes
Tate has come a long way as a fighter, but statistically she is not much of a striker. A 59 StrikeScore is well below replacement level. In two of her last three fights against Holly Holm and Sara McMann, Tate was able to pull out the victory despite struggling on the feet. She will need to do the same here. Nunes’ issue on the feet is defense as she allows opponents to land 53 percent of their strikes against her. However, on the offensive side of the striking game, she is very effective. She lands 3.67 sig strikes per minute at a 50 percent clip, and she has finished half of her UFC fights via knockout.

Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt
If you jumped into a time machine and headed towards 2009, you might be incredibly shocked to find that Hunt is a betting favorite over Lesnar. At the time, the gargantuan heavyweight champion had defeated Heath Herring, Randy Couture and Frank Mir and showed only a slight weakness, undeveloped submission defense. However, after UFC 100, Lesnar finished his initial UFC run with a 1-2 record and gave birth to the “he does not like to get hit narrative.”

When Lesnar was not able to get fights to the ground he struggled. As you can see below, his number of ground strikes fell off a cliff over his last three fights. 

With that being said, Lesnar’s biggest strength as a fighter has always been his knowledge of his own limitations. He knows that striking on the feet is not his game. Against Herring, he did not even try to throw the hooks in when the scrambler gave up his back. Lesnar knows his path to victory is to avoid huge shots on the feet, get takedowns and throw power shots from the top. That is why his career striking accuracy (73 percent) is so high and why he lands 3.57 sig strikes per minute.

The question in this fight will be whether the former University of Minnesota wrestler can get those takedowns. Next week he turns 39 years old, and he is 16 years removed from his amateur wrestling career. On the other hand, Hunt seems to become a more well rounded fighter the longer his career goes. With the exception of his fight against Stipe Miocic, the former kickboxer has looked actually hard to take down. However, that is a big exception.

Daniel Cormier vs. Anderson Silva
With Silva coming into this fight on very late notice, very few people are expecting him to pull off the upset. Considering Cormier’s wrestling prowess, his best path to victory would likely be landing a huge power strike and scoring a knockout finish. The adage is that power is the last thing to leave a fighter. However, Silva seems to be in the midsts of a power drain. Of the 38 fights tracked by FightMetric, “The Spider” has been to decision only 10 times. Against Nick Diaz (108) and Michael Bisping (75) Silva landed over 70 strikes without scoring a knockout for only the second and third time in his career.

Anderson Silva Most Sig Strikes Landed in Decision

Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar
Flashback to the striking battle in their first encounter at UFC 156

StrikeScore for Aldo vs. Edgar I

UFC Fight Night 78 Fight Forecast

The inaugural Fight Forecast looks at this weekend's UFC Fight Night 78 card, which takes place Nov. 21 at Arena Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico. Fight Forecast previews the event by providing the fighter's career StrikeScore as well as UFC Fantasy predictions, betting odds, Kountermove prices, DraftKings prices and Fight Matrix rankings.

StrikeScore is a proprietary stat that measures striking efficiency. The formula uses Fight Metric 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 numbers are the percent of players who have picked each fighter to win. (Numbers are current as of 11/20/2015 1:00 PM EST)

Odds is the betting line of 5Dimes taken from BestFightOdds.com. (Numbers are current as of 11/20/2015 1:00 PM EST)

Kountermove prices listed below are the dollar value used for the fantasy game.

DraftKings prices listed below are the dollar value used for the fantasy game.

Fight Matrix column represents the fighter's current ranking.

Decision Diego: Analyzing Diego Sanchez's Uncanny Ability to Sway Judges

This weekend Diego Sanchez returns to action against Ricardo Lamas. The featherweight fight will be part of UFC Fight Night 78, which takes place in Monterrey, Mexico. Sanchez has developed the reputation of someone who has unusual sway over the MMA judges. Over the course of his UFC career, he has fought to a decision 15 times. Of those 15 fights, Sanchez has earned the judges’ nod nine times. The following chart shows the StrikeScore  breakdown for bouts the “Dream” has won via decision (All source data Fight Metric). StrikeScore is a proprietary stat that measures striking efficiency, read about it here.

As you can see, Sanchez has actually been outstruck in four of his nine decision victories. This does happen with limited regularity. It mostly only occurs in fights that end via submission or have prolonged periods of ground control. Obviously striking is not the only criteria for judging an MMA contest under the unified rules. However, the rules do state, “if the mixed martial artists spent a majority of a round standing, then effective striking is weighed first.” Plus, all four of these fights were almost entirely contested on the feet.

All four of these fights were three round fights. It is possible that Sanchez did enough to take two out of three rounds on the judges’ cards while still losing the overall striking battle from a StrikeScore perspective, but that is clearly not the case. The following chart is a breakdown of Sanchez’s StrikeScore performance by round for all four bouts. As you can see, he was outstruck in 11 out of the possible 12 rounds. His only superior performance came with a minuscule four point margin.

StrikeScore by Round

StrikeScore by Round

Unfortunately, the MMADecisions database does not have individual round scoring for each of these contests. The following table shows the judges’ scorecards for each fight.

Considering the contemporary state of MMA judging, an undeserving fighter winning a decision is not that rare. However, when a fighter is awarded an unearned win not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times it seems likely that there would be some underlying reason. After brainstorming, StrikeScore MMA has come up with the following possible determining issues.

Persistent Output
Anyone who has sat cage side will tell you that it is not that easy to tell whether a strike lands or not. Is it possible that Sanchez is simply throwing inaccurate punches in the direction of his opponents and judges are missing the result? The following chart shows the number of significant strikes attempted per round by Sanchez and his opponents. As you can see, he was the busier fighter for a majority of rounds in three out of the four bouts. It is possible that output helped him earn the favor of the judges, but it is not consistent in all of the examples.

Significant Strike Attempts by Round

Significant Strike Attempts by Round

Failed Takedown Attempts
Despite not being a great wrestler, Sanchez has never been shy about trying to get the fight to the floor. Over the course of these four fights, he attempted 37 takedowns and landed only 4. That is 11 percent. That is not good. The following chart shows Sanchez’s takedown attempts per round of the four fights in questions. With the exception of the Pearson fight, he was determined to get the fight on the floor.

Takedown Attempts by Round

Takedown Attempts by Round

It is impossible to pinpoint exactly what influenced the judges to side with Sanchez in these four fights. It is likely some combination of these factors as well as intangibles such as the fighter’s ability to sell the fight with grunts and abrasive frowns. It is certainly a unique factor whenever Sanchez fights, and it makes things that much harder for opponents such as Lamas.

The good news for Lamas is that he is 5-1 in fights that have gone to decision with his only decision loss coming against featherweight champion Jose Aldo. The stats show that Lamas utilizes a similar volume approach to Sanchez. In these fights, Lamas holds the edge in significant strike attempts 548 to 446 and in takedown attempts 34 to 23. Sanchez might have to work a little bit harder if he hopes to steal another decision against this weekend.