By @fightnomics It may not be the main event we were hoping for, but the late replacement of Mark Hunt at least means there’s the possibility of a Cinderella story this weekend when the UFC debuts in Mexico. Despite low data visibility on the card due to a lot of new Latin American fighters being promoted, there are a few things we can learn from stacking up the fighters along a single key performance metric. A few of the fighters are listed with a “*,” which means they have a small sample size of 30 minutes or less of UFC fight time. I include them here for completeness, and also must note that Edgar Garcia’s opponent Hector Urbina is making his UFC debut and has no data.
The overall UFC average for this metric is 75%. For more on the nuances and benchmarks for MMA statistics get the book “Fightnomics” at Amazon.
Snipers: The top names on the list happen to be the fighters competing for the Interim Heavyweight Championship in the main event. And at the very top is a man known for his striking: Mark Hunt. His kickboxing experience has translated impressively to his UFC career, and the unlikely Kiwi now finds himself within literal striking distance of a title. He matches his accuracy with power, leading to 4 of his 5 wins in the UFC coming by KO. Unfortunately, submission phenom Fabricio Werdum is no slouch on his feet either, having recently stepped up the effectiveness of his striking and handled dangerous power strikers. The main event will likely be a position battle, but the accuracy and power of both men suggests we could see a KO to cap off the night one way or the other. The remaining names in this group are just barely above average, but they do include both Welterweight fighters facing off in the co-main event. Historically, Ellenberger has had slightly better strike accuracy than Gastelum. Ellenberger will need every bit of precision he has to overcome the stifling offense of Gastelum, who is the betting favorite. But given Ellenberger’s elite strength of schedule, and the reach advantage he’ll have in this matchup, perhaps this is our first clue to some upset potential. Swing and a Miss: Another pairing that falls into the same category is the Featherweight matchup of Dennis Bermudez and Ricardo Lamas. Both fighters have below average accuracy, but Lamas is surprisingly low. He’ll enjoy a reach advantage against Bermudez, but the market so far believes that it’s the lower-ranked Bermudez that is more likely to win. Jessica Eye also falls in this the low accuracy category, so she’ll have a tough out against the more accurate Leslie Smith. Granted, sample sizes are tiny here, so we’ll have to wait and see how they develop with more cage time. Edgar Garcia is listed on the chart with a poor 12% accuracy, however this reflects his 0-2 UFC career and one win from the WEC that all took place in 2009. He has since stepped up his game and earned a second shot in the Octagon. His opponent Hector Urbina is stepping up on the big stage for the first time, so there are a lot of unknowns in this matchup. “Fightnomics” the book is now available on Amazon! Follow along on Twitter for the latest UFC stats and MMA analysis, or on Facebook if you prefer.