By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics The main event on Saturday’s FOX card nearly blew up Twitter when it was first announced, with two men who have laid waste to most of their recent opponents now set on a #1 contender collision course with each other. But Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown aren’t the only two guys competing this weekend who can knock out their opponents. So which slugger on FOX hits the hardest? Here are the Knockdown Rates* for the final five matchups of the evening. The majority come in above average, especially for their divisions.
*Knockdown Rate is calculated as total Distance Knockdowns divided by Total Landed Distance Power Head Strikes. It is essentially the rate at which fighters knock down their opponents when they land a single powerful head strike. The UFC average is currently about 3%, but the average is clearly different for fighters of varying weight classes. For more details and history on Knockdown Rates, get the book “Fightnomics” at Amazon.
The short answer to who hits the hardest is: Anthony Johnson, then a bunch of others distantly vying for second place. In Rumble’s first tour in the UFC he scored an impressive eight knockdowns, albeit in smaller weight classes. That means roughly one in every seven or eight power head strikes he landed caused an opponent to fall down. Having settled in at Light Heavyweight, Rumble 2.0 still packs a punch, but also comes with takedown defense and a gas tank that can last three rounds – which makes for a dangerous edition to the division’s future title picture. Tied at second place are Robbie Lawler and Daron Cruickshank. The more dangerous of the two pound for pound is arguably Cruickshank, who has rattled off several highlight reel finishes with his kicks in the Lightweight division. Meanwhile, Lawler hasn’t lost his power in his return to the UFC’s Welterweight division as he’s already finished three opponents and scored a late knockdown against Rory MacDonald that secured that fight. Matt Brown is just barely behind his opponent Lawler, promising a matchup between two guys easily capable of finishing the fight in violent fashion. And Clay Guida, Dennis Bermudez and Josh Thompson all come in well above average for their divisions on the lighter side of the UFC’s weight scales. While Bobby Green appears to be average, he’s actually just above it for his division. That means the only two fighters with a truly “below average” Knockdown Rates are surprisingly Jorge Masvidal and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Both are still dangerous, but Little Nog’s appearance towards the bottom of the power rating is especially surprising given his background as a competitive boxer. The main card on FOX packs plenty of punch indeed, which is likely what matchmakers and fans are hoping for in front of the primetime network audience. Given all that power, there’s definitely room for a few T/KOs across the main card, and beyond. “Fightnomics” the book is now available on Amazon! Follow along on Twitter for the latest UFC stats and MMA analysis.