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 199 Fight Forecast

In the main event of UFC 199, Luke Rockhold will look to defend his middleweight title against Michael Bisping. The two faced off for the first time at UFC Fight Night 55. On that night, Rockhold scored a second-round guillotine choke submission. In addition to the submission finish, Rockhold had the edge in the striking game. He finished with a 225 SS+, while Bisping had only a 30.

Not only did Rockhold out-perform Bisping in the striking game, he was also not at his best. His 225 SS+ performance is actually below his average (302) over his last 10 fights.

Bisping also performed below his average. While Rockhold was 77 points under, Bisping was 109 points below his average score.

With news breaking that Rockhold might not be a 100 percent due to a knee injury, Bisping might become a more attractive underdog. However, from a striking perspective at least, Rockhold has already proven that he can win without being at his best.

Dominick Cruz is a favorite across the board
If we look at the new StrikeScore Composite Prediction, Cruz is a huge favorite over his rival Urijah Faber. The Composite prediction is an average of the scaled metrics including StrikeScore, UFC Fantasy, Tapology, betting odds, DraftKings and Fight Matrix. Cruz is the favorite 73 to 27 percent.

Scaled Cruz vs. Faber III Predicitions

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 6/3/2016 3:00 PM EST)

Odds is the betting line of 5Dimes taken from BestFightOdds.com. (Numbers are current as of 6/3/2016 3:00 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.

*Fighter with less than 3 fights in FightMetric database **Ranking at welterweight ^Ranking at bantamweight ^^Ranking at light heavyweight

*Fighter with less than 3 fights in FightMetric database
**Ranking at welterweight
^Ranking at bantamweight
^^Ranking at light heavyweight

What can the MMA world expect from Rena Kubota?

For many old school fans, predicting the MMA success of converts from other sports is one of the most uniquely interesting aspects of the sport. There are endless forum pages discussing how the likes of Dan Gable or Bruce Le do if they stepped into the MMA cages or rings. In some instances, these conversions actually take place and fans can actually see an Olympic gold medal winner wrestler like Henry Cejudo or a judo medalist like Ronda Rousey compete in the UFC.

StrikeScoreMMA has devoted, probably unwisely, an inordinate amount of time and resources to statistical models that predict the success or failure of these conversions from other sports. It is probably unwise, because ultimately different sports are just that, different. You could be a slightly above average wrestler like T.J. Dillashaw and go on to be a dominant UFC champion. However, that will not stop StrikeScoreMMA from trying.

On New Year's Eve, Rena Kubota will make her MMA debut. Kubota is a long-time veteran of sport of Shoot Boxing and a four-time winner of the Girls S-Cup, an annual tournament to determine the best in the sport. What is Shoot Boxing? For those that do not know, Shoot Boxing, which is often described as "standing vale tudo," is basically an MMA fight that is immediately restarted when it ends up on the ground. Fighters can go for standing submissions, takedowns and even point scoring high-amplitude throws. 

MMA fighters often compete in the promotion with varying degrees of success. At the 2010 S-Cup, Bellator veteran Toby Imada defeated Takaaki Umeno and Andy Souwer to unexpectedly reach the finals before losing to Buakaw Por. Pramuk

In 2011, Kubota welcomed Jessica Penne to Shoot Boxing. The American fighter pulled off the upset in her only fight for the promotion to date. Three years later, Penne went on the compete on the 20th season of "The Ultimate Fighter" and eventually challenge for the promotion's flyweight strap. Robert Sargent, the guru of women's MMA, described the bout at MMARising.

Bellator veteran Jessica Penne scored a significant upset this evening in her shoot boxing debut in Tokyo, Japan. Penne earned a Majority Decision win over promotional postergirl Rena Kubota after a pair of extension rounds in a razor-thin bout at Shoot Boxing: “Act.4” at the famed Korakuen Hall.

After three back-and-forth rounds where both fighters landed solid strikes, Kubota looked to take control in the first extension round, but the bout was again ruled a Draw. In the fifth and final round, Penne earned a Shoot Point for a high-arc throw and that was just enough to win on two scorecards.
— Robert Sargent

Penne, despite being one of the best women's flyweights in the world, is not much of a striker. In fact, her ability to close the distance and score takedowns against Kubota should be rather concerning for the Japanese fighter. However, even though Kubota lost the close decision, she thoroughly dominated the striking portion of the fight through the first four rounds. Shoot Boxing judges have a bit of a reputation of leaning towards promotional favorites. However, it does not appear that they did Kubota any favors here.

StrikeScore for Rena Kubota vs. Jessica Penne Shoot Boxing Act. 4 2011

Since Shoot Boxing takes place entirely on the feet. We can compare the numbers that Kubota put up against Penne with her standing performance in other fights. The Fight Metric database contains stats from all of Penne's UFC and Invicta FC bouts.

Standing StrikeScore for Jessica Penne in Invicta FC, UFC and Shoot Boxing

Kubota actually performed better, striking wise, than all but two of Penne's opponents in Invicta FC and UFC. Those also happen to be the only two opponents to defeat her. Kubota's striking numbers are actually very similar to the numbers that Randa Markos put up against Penne. That contest, which took place at the TUF 20 Finale, was a back and forth fight that Penne ultimately won via split decision.

In order to be successful in MMA, Kubota will need to work on her takedown defense. Despite her striking success in the 2011 fight, she was taken down 16 times over the course of the 15 minute fight. If she can get that in order, which is always a big if for fighters coming from a primarily striking background, Kubota should be able flex her striking game the way she did against Penne who is currently ranked third in the UFC rankings.

UFC 193: Expect Joanna Jędrzejczyk's Historic Dominance to Continue

In only her third UFC fight, Joanna Jędrzejczyk defeated Carla Esparza to claim the women's strawweight title. She dominated the bout before securing the finish late in the second round. Jędrzejczyk registered a career-high 1603 StrikeScore for the performance. To put that number into perspective, it is the highest-rated striking performance among all current champion's title-claiming victories. In fact, it is nearly four times the rating that T.J. Dillashaw scored for his dynamic upset of then-champion Renan Barao.

The Polish fighter returned for her first title defense last June. At UFC Fight Night 69, Jessica Penne was introduced to the buzz saw. The referee mercifully stopped the fight near the end of round 3. Jędrzejczyk's StrikeScore for the bout was 722, which is the second highest for a title defense among current champions. Rousey's 16 second destruction of Alexis Davis is the only higher-rated striking performance.

Valérie Létourneau earned her shot on the back on three-straight decision victories inside the UFC. She will become the first ever "The Ultimate Fighter" contestant that lost in the "get into the house round" to fight for a UFC title. Previous non-season-winning TUF veterans are 1-9-1 in their attempts to claim a title (the only successful challenger was Dillashaw).

Despite her winning streak, Létourneau's victories hardly compare with the striking dominance displayed by the champion. The following graph shows both of the fighters' last three performances and their overall career StrikeScore (career includes all fights listed in FightMetric.com)

Jędrzejczyk and Létourneau Last Three Bouts StrikeScore

Obviously there is a sizable gap in striking performance between the two fighters. However, the dominance of Jędrzejczyk is even more impressive when you consider the level of competition. By no means has Létourneau faced a line of tomato cans, but Jędrzejczyk has clearly faced the tougher schedule. The chart below shows the highest quarterly ranking of the fighters' opponents according to FightMatrix. Since the UFC's 115-pound women's division has a relatively short history and their opponents may not have been as highly ranked at the time, the comparison uses the highest quarterly ranking to find a more fair measure of their accomplishments and prowess as competitors