By @fightnomics It’s Super Bowl weekend and the UFC is delivering a pretty monster card in Las Vegas. That’s nothing new. But what is new is that there aren’t any titles on the line, which is OK because what will hopefully be the first of many super fights in the years to come is just as compelling as some recent championship bouts. And supporting Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz in the main event is a long list of experienced and fun to watch fighters, several of whom are looking to earn title shots. The first question is: will we see some knockouts? The statline reveals plenty of hard hitters at UFC 183, but there are two who clearly differentiate from the rest of the pack.
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Hardest Hitters The name Anderson Silva should be synonymous with knockouts. The man’s career includes an entire highlight reel of some of the most spectacular striking displays the sport has ever seen. His Knockdown Rate of 16% is ridiculous. He has 17 knockdowns to date in the UFC, currently the all-time record. Woodley has six knockdowns in his shorter Strikeforce and UFC career, but at Welterweight is clearly one of the hardest hitters around. Above Average There’s a pile of fighters behind Silva and Woodley, who while not elite in their knockdown rate, are certainly more dangerous than average. That includes power slugger Thiago Alves and John Lineker, and more technical strikers like Rafael Natal. And then there’s wild card strikers like Joe Lauzon and Ed Herman. There are a lot of ways to knock an opponent down, and the card at UFC 183 is loaded with fighters who can do it every which way. It’s interesting to note, however, that the average defensive knockdown resilience of the fighters on the card is also above average, so there’s a combination of heavy hands and stout chins at work here. The most notable knockout artists in this group are Brazilians John Lineker and Thiago Alves. Both men punch well above their weight class, and have won the majority of their career and UFC fights with strikes. Lineker will be the underdog against the elusive Ian McCall, while Alves is a pick ‘em against the larger and more accurate Jordan Mein. Middle of the Pack Nick Diaz and Kelvin Gastelum are just around the UFC average in terms of power, yet they both happen to be facing much harder hitting opponents. There’s one catch though, both Diaz and Gastelum have big Youth Advantages over Silva and Woodley. Overall, that means plenty of knockout potential in the final two fights of the card. Still Looking Jordan Mein has three knockdowns to date, but scored them on higher than average volumes. But that’s still better than a handful of UFC 183 strikers, like Tom Watson, Jimmy Hettes, Ian McCall, and both female fighters Miesha Tate and Sarah McMann who have all yet to score a knockdown. Power is just one key aspect of the MMA striking game. It’s also important to consider striking accuracy, pace, and target selection to get a good feel for the style of striking each fighter will bring into the Octagon at UFC 183. “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.