By @fightnomics When the UFC returns to Newark, NJ this weekend they’ll pack the network primetime card with fan-friendly talent. That usually means plenty of heavy leather, and the card on FOX 15 is no different. But which fighters are the biggest knockout threats, and which ones are still hunting for their first highlight reel KO? Here are how all the fighters on the Main and FOX Sports 1 prelim card stack up. Note that some fighters have an asterisk to denote small sample size.
Biggest Knockout Threats Heavy-handed Ovince St-Preux comes in at the top of the list with a nasty 12.1% Knockdown Rate scored on five total knockdowns. The trouble is that he’s facing Patrick Cummins, who will clearly want to wrestle OSP as Ryan Bader did. Should it hit the mat, OSP may be in trouble, but his Knockdown Rate and recent TKO of Shogun Rua remind us why he’s a dangerous opponent for anyone. The next two names are also no surprise, and yet they are facing each other in the main event. Luke Rockhold actually has the higher Knockdown Rate on a per strike landed basis, though Machida has racked up 13 career knockdowns putting him behind only Chuck Liddell (14) and Anderson Silva (17) for the most all-time. Hard to say if either man will score one in what is likely to be a close, technical matchup, but this is another reason why the main event cannot be missed. Beneil Dariush has defeated most of his opponents by submission, but he recently went toe-to-toe with striker Daron Cruickshank long enough to prove that he can stand with a power striker. His matchup with Jim Miller looks very even on paper despite Miller being the much more experienced and higher ranked fighter. Above Average Gian Villante has scored two knockdowns in his short career to date, but it’s worth noting that he’s suffered three knockdowns of his own. His Knockdown Rate comes out pretty well for a Light Heavyweight, which suggests the kickboxer who has won most of his fights by TKO will prefer to stand and trade. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Diego Brandao are both BJJ black belts, and yet they have managed to round out their skills on the feet as well, boasting above average knockdown power. Brandao in particular prefers to use his striking, and faces an opponent who is definitely a grappler first in Jimy Hettes. But Souza’s submission game will probably be more prevalent when he faces Chris Camozzi, who Souza defeated by first-round arm triangle when they faced off in 2013. Middle of the Pack Jim Miller has logged over three hours in the Octagon and been in with some of the best. Though he boasts high level grappling credentials, he hasn’t neglected his hands. His three UFC knockdowns to date have come at a rate just a hair over the Lightweight average. Yet his matchup with Dariush could be more intriguing if it goes to the ground, where both fighters have won the majority of their fights. The middle of the pack includes two names that are surprising to be so low on the list: Cub Swanson and Max Holloway. Combined, these two have scored 10 knockdowns in the UFC, an impressive total. But given that each of their striking rates is higher than average and they spend a lot of time standing and trading leather, their overall Knockdown Rates have fallen to be about average for their division. But let’s be clear, this fight should be a standup battle and a very entertaining one at that, as either fighter could get a KO win. Grappling Specialists and Newbies Takeya Mizugaki scored three knockdowns in his UFC careers at a just-below average rate. He is a high volume striker, but has also been more dominant on the ground. Time will tell where he has the best advantages. Rounding out the list are several names that have either not logged much Octagon time, or who are primarily grapplers. Jimy Hettes and Patrick Cummins are elite in different aspects of the ground game, and have generally looked to keep fights on the mat. Such will likely be the case against their opponents, who are the more powerful strikers in these two matchups. The odds are close for both men in their matchups likely due to the stylistic mismatches and uncertainty that poses. Four other names towards the bottom of the list (Sterling, Anderson, Herrig and VanZant) all only have one or two UFC appearances thus far. But among the group is an impressive pool of talent, as their total UFC record is a perfect 6-0 with four finishes. Given more Octagon time, we’ll see which of these fighters begins to display their power. Chris Camozzi brings up the bottom of the list, because despite having logged over two hours of Octagon time and over 100 landed power head strikes, he has yet to score a knockdown. Part of the reason he hasn’t gotten behind his punches is the rate at which he throws them, which is way above average. So while he lacks power, he makes up for it in volume. However, given that he is nearly a 10-to-1 underdog this weekend, saying he has a “puncher’s chance” against Souza may not carry much weight based on the stats. For information on getting the “Fightnomics” the book, go here. Follow along on Twitter for the latest UFC stats and MMA analysis, or on Facebook, if you prefer. Want to put your knowledge to the test in Fantasy MMA for cash? Use the code “FIGHTNOMICS” for an immediate 25% deposit bonus at Kountermove.