By @fightnomics We’ve already consider the hardest hitters and the fastest paced strikers at UFC 183, but which fighters are most skilled in actually landing their power head strikes? Ultimately, it’s one of the most critical measures of striking skill in the cage: the ability to tag your opponent on the chin from a distance, hard. And many of the greatest fighters have excelled in this metric. That includes Anderson Silva, who is the most accurate fighter of all time in terms of Significant Strike accuracy. But as it turns out, there’s a much younger fighter who actually beats out the Spider in the more specific metric of distance power head strike accuracy at UFC 183.
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Snipers Young gun Jordan Mein is attempting to put together a run in the UFC Welterweight division, thanks in part to his highly accurate striking. Landing 40% of his power head strikes is one reason he has accumulated 16 T/KO finishes in his career so far, and he’s only 25 years old! Anderson Silva is one of the most accurate power strikers in history, especially considering he has continuously been competing at the highest levels. Consider his excellent accuracy combined with his ability to drop opponents, Silva’s nickname should be the Sniper, not the Spider. Above Average There’s a crowd of fighters who have been performing well above the mean accuracy in the UFC. That includes dangerous sluggers like John Lineker and Tyron Woodley, and the more scrappy Al Iaquinta and Diego Brandao. It also includes more grappling focused fighters like Derek Brunson and Jimy Hettes, although factoring in striking pace makes Brunson more of a threat on his feet than Hettes. Both women’s Bantamweights show up above the UFC average, but only because their division has shown high accuracy (or just poor defense) in their standup striking to date. But fans may be surprised to see the Olympic wrestler McMann ahead of the more experienced Miesha Tate in her striking accuracy. Stay on Target Showing up right around the benchmark for average in the UFC are a number of veterans. This includes power strikers Thiago Alves, Tim Boetsch and Tom Watson, who may suffer lower accuracy do to their high mix of power strikes. Swinging for the fences a lot can do that. Nick Diaz also shows up as average, although he often makes up for it pace, and generally out-strikes his opponents on volume. Rafael Natal has an excellent ground game that he sometimes forgets about, choosing to stand and trade. That could be a mistake against the evenly matched Watson, as Natal has accumulated more losses by knockout than any other method. And lastly, Kelvin Gastelum has been just above average, but more importantly has shown good defense, and hence has gotten the better of opponents in standup striking to date. He’s making a big step up in competition against the highly ranked Tyron Woodley, but the betting public so far favors the younger Gastelum. Tighten Up While Ian McCall shows up below the UFC benchmark, keep in mind that Flyweights are the hardest to hit of all the divisions. His striking accuracy is actually dead on average for his weight class. But that isn’t exactly reassuring given how accurate and powerful his opponent John Lineker has been on the feet. That all means that McCall could try to bring this fight to the ground. The names on the low end of the graph all represent guys who love to use submissions. Leites, Lauzon and Herman each have more than a dozen career victories by submission. And when you’re that dangerous on the mat, it can lead to more tentative striking while looking for takedown angles. “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.