By @fightnomics As the UFC heads back to Nashville apparently some dominant wrestlers are coming along for the ride. Not only does the roster for UFC Fight Night 73 include a former Olympian, Sarah McMann, but there are several other wrestlers who have been dominant on the mat and in the cage. There are fighters who definitely have made the most of their wrestling skill, and then there are those who have not. And those stylistic discrepancies could definitely influence some matchups this weekend. This metric shows what percentage of a fighter’s total fight time is spent not only on the ground, but controlling their opponent. Scoring high on this metric means a fighter is not only attempting a lot of takedowns, but landing them, and then keeping opponents down once they’ve gotten them down. It also means they aren’t getting reversed. The UFC average is about 15%.
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The Most Effective Wrestler Ray Borg is just three fights into his UFC career, but already he has earned two performance bonuses for submissions, and has spent a startling 72% of his total fight time on the mat. And fortunately for him, he’s been in control for the majority of that time. He attempts takedowns at more than four times the average rate, and lands them with an abnormally high 73% success rate. Other Wrestling “Haves” Olympic freestyle wrestling silver medalist Sarah McMann comes in high on the list as well, having spent 66% of her total fight time on the ground, and being in control for the vast majority of that. She also rates highly in takedowns, both in terms of attempt rate and success rate, and she’ll need to exercise strict control once on the ground against Amanda Nunes who is a BJJ black belt. Another wrestle-first fighter is Heavyweight Jared Rosholt. He’s spent nearly half his cage time on the ground and has been in control for all of that time. Rosholt has been dropped three times, so perhaps he’s even more motivated to get fights off the feet. Beneil Dariush has taken more than half of his victories by way of submission, so he has certainly put his BJJ credentials to good use. But to do that against Michael Johnson, he’ll have to close the distance and get a hold of his opponent. Johnson’s takedown defense is solid, but as the numbers show, Dariush has found a way to log plenty of time on the mat in control. Dustin Ortiz is another successful wrestler who is facing an opponent who prefers to stand and bang. The stylistic matchup here suggests Ortiz will attempt to maximize his wrestling against Willie Gates. Amanda Nunes comes in above average in her wrestling effectiveness, but likely has an uphill battle against McMann. Nunes has the submission game, but will she be able to use it against the stifling top control of a seasoned grinder? That’s the key question. Nunes will need to find success early with either strikes or submissions before time, sweat, and fatigue take their toll. Middle of the Pack The two fighters in the main event come in just above average by this metric, and the ground matchup between them will be close. Teixeira and Saint Preux attempt takedowns at nearly identical rates, with nearly identical success, and once on the ground advance position exactly as often as each other. Teixeira gets just a small edge in overall control, but OSP’s takedown defense is better. It’s a very close matchup on the ground, as it is on the feet, and the market is currently torn between them with tight betting odds. Understandable. The Wrestling “Have Nots” Towards the bottom of the list we see a group of fighters who have been very reluctant to go to the ground. The common denominator is that most of these fighters are first and foremost strikers. And with confidence in their hands, they haven’t needed to go to the ground. That will certainly influence the matchup between striking-centric fighters and opponents who are strong in wrestling. That includes the Johnson-Dariush co-main event, the Brunson-Alvey matchup, the Gates-Ortiz matchup, and the Johnson-Rosholt matchup. This also means that we should expect Camozzi versus Watson to be a primarily standing affair. For information on getting the “Fightnomics” the book, go here.