Snapstats: Who Has Used Wrestling the Most at UFC Stockholm?

We’ve already seen that the FOX card in Stockholm this weekend isn’t exactly loaded up with snipers. But among the names on the main card are plenty of solid wrestlers, and that will play an important role in several of weekend’s matchups. Because as we’ll see, these fighters fall into two categories when it comes to using their wrestling effectively in the Octagon.

Who has the best ground control at UFC Stockholm

For more on these and other MMA performance metrics, get the book “Fightnomics” at Amazon.

  Effective Wrestlers The name at the top of the list should be no surprise. Phil Davis’s wrestling has been so good that he hasn’t really needed threatening striking to win fights. His use of wrestling was so effective against Glover Teixeira, that the Brazilian could hardly mount any sort of offense whatsoever. His only fight spent on his back came against another solid wrestler, Rashad Evans, in a title-eliminator matchup on the second ever FOX card. Since then, Davis’s only loss came against the one fighter he couldn’t take down, Rumble Johnson. But what makes Davis’s current matchup even more interesting is that the very next name on the graph (and very close by) is Ryan Bader, another successful NCAA wrestler. While clearly Bader is the more aggressive and competent striker, the wrestling matchup could end up determining the fight. Next up is Anthony Johnson who has largely been in control during his time on the mat. That’s not to say he’s the best” wrestler on the card, but he has spent nearly half of his fight time on the ground. Perhaps that’s partly because his standup striking has made short work of many opponents, while his longer fights were grappling affairs. Digging deeper offers another insight. When in top control, Johnson has mainly stayed in full guard, and he averages very few guard passes per takedown. He’s also taken his only three legitimate losses in his career by submission, which may make him even more gun-shy playing around on the mat. For his sake, his takedown defense is very good, and most of the time on the ground he’s on top – but that may not be enough against his opponent Alexander Gustafsson. Gustafsson, like Johnson, has been in control the majority of his time on the mat. What differentiates Gustafsson, however, is that he is far more aggressive in advancing position. He also averages more than twice the rate of submission attempts per minute on the ground.  Overall, Gustafsson may be the more threatening grappler, which could force Johnson to stand and trade. If they do that, hopefully it means the better striker comes out with the victory, making for the best possible future opponent for Jon Jones. Last among the successful wrestlers is Sam Sicilia. While Sicilia didn’t wrestle past the high school level, he has been much more often been in control against the UFC opponents he’s faced, and has a decent share of submission victories earlier in his career. It may not be the first strength we think of with this fighter who likes to swing for the fences, but in his matchup with Corassani, it could become a big advantage. Ineffective Wrestlers At the bottom of the list Akira Corassani, who is a striker first, for sure. While he’s been working on his ground game with Renzo Gracie’s team, he has yet to spend much time controlling opponents on the mat. He attempts few takedowns, land them at a below average rate, and overall has been controlled more often than not. Suffice to say, he may be looking to keep this fight standing. Perhaps surprisingly, Dan Henderson also shows up on the bottom half of the chart. Spanning a successful career in two divisions, Henderson has been hit or miss while on the mat. He’s been out-grappled by elite wrestlers like Dan Cormier, but also by smaller opponents like Jake Shields. Yet his wrestling has also saved him on occasion. Unfortunately for Henderson, more often than not, he has been controlled on the mat. In his matchup against Gegard Mousasi, Henderson’s facing another man who has been controlled more on the ground. It will be interesting to see if wrestling becomes the critical component of this fight, and also which fighter gets the upper hand.   “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.

Written by Reed Kuhn

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