UFC Fight Night 115 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 Sept. 1 at 9:45 a.m. ET)

Odds is the betting line of 5Dimes taken from BestFightOdds.com. (Numbers are current as of Sept. 1 at 9:45 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. 

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UFC 204 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 Oct. 7 at 1:15 p.m. ET)

Odds is the betting line of 5Dimes taken from BestFightOdds.com. (Numbers are current as of Oct. 7 at 1:15 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 10/1/2014 to 7/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. 

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Bisping vs. Henderson StrikeScore (Last 5 Fights)

For more information on Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson check out Richard Mann's preview on ESPN.com.

Belfort vs. Mousasi StrikeScore (Last 5 Fights)

Gegard Mousasi has one of the highest career StrikeScores at 400. Outside of his last loss against Uriah Hall, he has put up at least 572 in three of his last four bouts. Vitor Belfort has had negative StrikeScores in two of his last three bouts.

Saint Preux vs. Manuwa StrikeScore (Last 5 Fights)

Ovince Saint Preux absorbed more sig strikes against Jon Jones (105) than he did in his previous four fights. Jimi Manuwa started his UFC run with three-straight wins. He has been outstruck in all of his bouts since.

Struve vs. Omielanczuk StrikeScore (Last 5 Fights)

Stefan Struve's 9400 StrikeScore over Antonio Silva was one of the highest scores of the year, but it came against Antonio Silva. Daniel Omielanczuk has outstruck his opponents 118-47 since falling to Anthony Hamilton last year.

Bektic vs. Doane StrikeScore (Last 5 Fights)

In his three-fight UFC career, Mirsad Bektic might not have been very exciting, but he has been dominant defensively. His opponents have landed only 0.79 sig strikes per minute, and he avoids 75 percent of their strikes. Russell Doane has been taken down 10 times in five UFC fights and will likely end up stuck underneath Bektic in this fight.

Cody Garbrandt remains power king of UFC bantamweight division and other notes from UFC Fight Night 88

Going into UFC Fight Night 88, StrikeScoreMMA.com noted both Cody Garbrandt and Thomas Almeida had power in their strikes. On Sunday night, Garbrandt’s power won out, and he scored a first-round knockout. The Team Alpha Male product secured the KO with only 21 significant strikes landed. That number dropped his sig strike per knockout number to 48. Prior to card, Garbrandt’s ratio was 62, which was good enough for first among ranked bantamweights. The updated table show the sig strike per knockout ratio of all fighters in the UFC bantamweight rankings.

The following chart shows the evolution of Garbrandt’s sig strike per knockout ratio over the course of his UFC career. Each point shows his cumulative ratio following the fight listed on the x axis. At this rate, he might not be done picking up quick finishes.

Cody Garbrandt Sig Strike Per KO

Bryan Caraway grinds away Aljamain Sterling
Many pundits seemed to label Sterling the preordained winner of this grudge match. However, after a shaky first round, Caraway did enough in the next two rounds to take the decision. Sterling showed flashes early, but he inability to score at distance played into Caraway’s hands. "Kid Lightning" managed to win the decision despite landing only 9 sig strikes and putting up a -14 StrikeScore. Caraway is the first fighter in 2016 to win a decision with a negative StrikeScore.

The following chart show Sterling’s total striking percentage overall and at distance (that is, on the feet, not in the clinch). Most fighters are less accurate at distance. However, Sterling’s dropoff is rather drastic.

Aljamain Sterling Striking Percentage (Total Strikes and at Distance)

Shane Campbell needs to round out game
In 2016, Campbell has gone 0-2 in the UFC. Against both James Krause and Erik Koch, Campbell was unable to deal with his opponents’ grappling. He dropped a decision to Krause and submitted to Koch last weekend. In both fights, he dominated the striking in terms of StrikeScore: 224 against Krause and 189 against Koch. Both Krause and Koch are respected strikers, so Campbell’s accomplishment is impressive. However, it means very little without wins.

Stefan Struve wraps up May Striker of the Month honors
Nobody on UFC Fight Night 88 was able to enter the StrikeScore Most Efficient Striking Performance Top 10, which means that Stefan Struve takes home the honors for the month of May for his 16-second knockout of Antonio Silva.


RankFighterOpponentEventDateStrikeScore
1Alejandro PerezIan EntwistleUFC Fight Night 864/10/201611800
2Marcos Rogerio de LimaClint HesterUFC 1974/23/20169800
3Anthony JohnsonRyan BaderUFC on Fox 181/30/20169500
3Chris CamozziJoe RiggsUFC Fight Night 832/21/20169500
5Stefan StruveAntonio SilvaUFC FN 875/8/20169400
6Derek BrunsonRoan CarneiroUFC Fight Night 832/21/20166800
7Damian StasiakFilip PejicUFC Fight Night 864/10/20166700
8Teemu PackalenThibault GoutiUFC Fight Night 842/27/20165900
9Oluwale BamgboseDaniel SarafianUFC Fight Night 832/21/20164800
10Sheldon WestcottEdgar GarciaUFC 1951/2/20163424

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.

UFC 193: Stefan Struve's best striking performances have come against lesser opposition

Most MMA fans would assume that a seven-foot-tall Dutch fighter would excel in the stand-up game. However, Stefan Struve has proven to be the exception to this rule. Since his UFC debut, which saw him fall to Junior Dos Santos in only 54 seconds, Struve has never managed to show the striking acumen of his fellow countrymen, such as Semmy Schilt, Peter Aerts, Alistair Overeem, etc. It's been his above average ground game and the dearth of talent in the heavyweight divison that has allowed "Skyscraper" to build himself a respectable UFC career.

In his last outing, Struve managed to pick apart whatever was left of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. "Big Nog" is clearly not the fighter that he was during his heyday. However, at the time, he was still a top-40 hevyweight. Prior to the Nogueira fight, Struve previously had only two striking performances against top-40 competition rate positive (as in above zero) on the StrikeScore scale (Fight Metric significant strikes were used as source data).

For the purpose of the following chart, rankings data was compiled from Fight Matrix. The contemporary ranking is the most recent "Generated Historical Ranking" of Struve's oppoent prior to their fight. The opponents are listed in order of contemporary ranking (highest to lowest). Contemporary ranking is where that fighter was ranked at fight time, not where they rank historically. The chart below shows that Struve's StrikeScore results greatly depend on the talent level of his opposition. This weekend at UFC 193, he takes on Jared Rosholt, a fighter known much more for his wrestling. But with a ranking of 27th, Struve may still struggle to score points on the feet.

StrikeScore for Stefan Struve vs. Fighter Ranked Above/Below 40

Rosholt holds a 5-1 record in the UFC. He is coming off a decision victory over Timothy Johnson at UFC Fight Night 73. However, that fight highlights a potential issue for Rosholt, and that is fading in the third round. Both his offensive striking output and accuracy dropped dramatically in the last round as compared to round 2. His number of total strike attempts went from 31 to 14, and his accuracy fell from 74 percent to 57 percent. Perhaps Rosholt was just having an off night, since his output and stirking actually increased in the final round in his three other decision victories.