By @fightnomics We’ve already covered the hardest hitters on the Super Bowl weekend card in Vegas. But a very different metric is just as interesting, and that’s how fast fighters tend to pace their strikes in their standup game. As you’ll see, the main event alone presents extremes in this metric, and there is a broad range of strikers across the card. Let’s see how they all stack up in one chart.
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Pedal to the Metal Nick Diaz is known for his aggressive, stalking style of striking. Not exactly a one punch knockout artist, but a guy who keeps dinging up opponents until there’s a tipping point. Against BJ Penn, Diaz landed 150 strikes from a distance in just three rounds – nearly one every six seconds – from a whopping 309 attempts. Throughout Diaz’s career, he’s averaged nearly 20 strike attempts per minute while standing, nearly double the average UFC pace. Just behind Diaz is another guy who loves to be aggressive, Flyweight John Lineker. When he faces Ian McCall, Lineker will be the faster and more powerful striker, but his aggressive style leads to sloppy defense. That matchup will likely be another striking duel on a card where we could see a lot of standup action. The pairing of Sarah McMann and Miesha Tate will pit two of the fastest paced strikers together. It turns out that the Women’s Bantamweight division has an abnormally high rate of standup striking, so while these two appear high on the list, they’re actually not far off from average for their division. Al Iaquinta and Tom Watson are also aggressive strikers, and each man is hoping to keep his fight standing against known submission threats in Rafael Natal and Joe Lauzon, respectively. It’s worth noting that both grapplers fall into the below average portion of the graph, more evidence that both those fights could turn into battles for position. Thiago Alves is fairly well matched with opponent Jordan Mein on pace alone in another fight between two guys reluctant to attempt takedowns. Coasting Filling out the middle of the graph are a mixed bag of fighters, some of whom prefer to fight on the mat. Specifically, Ed Herman, Derek Brunson, and Jimy Hettes all spend a lot of time fighting on the ground, so it’s no surprise that they don’t fully commit to their standup striking. Another guy with solid wrestling is Kelvin Gastelum, who has mixed up his MMA game well to date through a currently undefeated run. And then there’s Jordan Mein and Ian McCall, who while setting an average pace, are quite measured in their striking style. Mein is very accurate, while McCall is one of the most elusive men on the feet. Each man brings a unique style to what could be mostly striking matchups this weekend. Pumping the Breaks Many of the names at the bottom are guys with dangerous submission games, who probably have reserved standup striking so as to time takedowns on opponents. That includes Rafael Natal, Thales Leites, Diego Brandao, and the performance bonus machine, Joe Lauzon. Power striker Tyron Woodley is also low on the list, preferring to pick his shots. And as we saw on the Knockdown Rate graph, he doesn’t need many to put opponents away. And way at the bottom is Anderson Silva. A counter-striking sniper if there ever was one. Along with Woodley, Silva has an extraordinarily high Knockdown Rate, but choosing to be very evasive a non-committal in his engagement style. He represents a stark contrast to the high-volume pressure-striker Nick Diaz at the very top of the chart. Which style is better? We get to see it all play out in the main event 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.