Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC 168 Stats Review

For this feature I’m bringing back Fight Score, an estimate of how well each fighter performed based on their accumulated Fight Metric statistics. Fight Score should be considered more of a ballpark estimate than a precise measurement. Here’s how the UFC 168 participants stack up:

Rank Fighter Fight Score
1 Travis Browne +47.00
I was really hoping Browne’s fight against Josh Barnett would serve as an opportunity to learn more about Browne. Can Browne consistently defend takedowns against a quality wrestler? How does his striking hold up if he can’t win by quick knockout? Obviously I can’t fault Browne for knocking Barnett out the same way he knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga; I just would have liked to see development in Browne’s game.
2 Dustin Poirier +15.51
In one round, Poirier landed 44 significant strikes and a knockdown against a fat Diego Brandao. The moment Brandao started looking tired, Poirier unloaded with striking combinations and finished the fight. Poirier is a second-tier featherweight, a fighter who will struggle against top contenders but look great against mid-tier competition. He made a fan out of me in this fight.
3 Jim Miller +13.51
Before Miller beat Fabricio Camoes, I told my friends that Camoes had great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but Miller was likely the better striker and wrestler. What we saw was Miller absorb 11 significant strikes and get put on his back before winning by armbar from the guard – so pretty much the exact opposite of what I said. I really wanted Miller to have a great performance here but losing the striking portion of the fight to Camoes is a really bad sign.
4 Uriah Hall +13.40
In this fight Uriah Hall was who he always has been. He’s a striker who moves backwards and avoids strikes by dropping his hands and lifting his chin. What Hall did well in this fight was constant circling, taking advantage of his long reach. Hall has real talent that makes him a dangerous opponent for a lot of fighters, but he’s still very flawed.
5 Chris Weidman +13.21
I was rooting for Weidman to defeat Anderson Silva, but I wanted to see a proper closure to the fight. I wanted Weidman to win in such a way that proved he was the better man. We didn’t get that with Silva’s leg snapping like a twig on Weidman’s knee. Instead we got a serious injury for a legend of the sport, and that’s nothing to celebrate.

With that said, I’ll argue that Weidman is the better fighter right now any day of the week. In about 12.5 combined minutes of fighting, Weidman was up 36-22 in significant strikes, 2-0 in knockdowns, 2-0 in takedowns, and 3-0 in submission attempts against Silva. He’s the real deal.

6 Ronda Rousey +11.72
Well now we’ve seen what happens when an opponent forces Ronda Rousey to fight beyond the first round… just continued dominance on the part of Rousey. She had six takedowns, three guard passes, and three submission attempts in this fight, for a total of 12 grappling advances in 11 minutes. She was also the better overall striker, out-pointing Miesha Tate 40-24 in significant strikes. Sure, there were fleeting moments of vulnerability, but this fight was 99% Rousey.
7 Michael Johnson +10.41
Johnson’s historic weaknesses have been his conditioning and his ground game. Neither of them were tested by Gleison Tibau, who inexplicably decided to engage in a striking battle against Johnson. To Johnson’s credit he successfully defended two takedown attempts from Tibau and that’s no small feat – Tibau is the best wrestler in the division. Credit where it’s due: Johnson needed to sprawl and brawl to beat Tibau and he did it beautifully.
8 Robbie Peralta +6.86
34-32 in significant strikes, 2-1 in takedowns, 2-2 in guard passes… and 1-0 in knockouts. That’s Robbie Peralta in a nutshell. It’s not good enough for him to merely match his opponent until he lands the knockout blow, because there will be fights where Peralta doesn’t get the finish that way. When that happens he’s likely to lose as he did to Akira Corassani.
9 William Macario +6.80
No big deal, just 133 significant strikes landed in 15 minutes. Not to mention three takedowns as well. It was funny seeing the highlights of this fight when it was over… Bobby Voelker’s face was clean for the first half of the highlights, then out of nowhere it was bloody for the second half. I could nitpick Macario’s absorbing 61 significant strikes, but it’s hard to hold that against him when he lands 133.
10 John Howard +2.53
Howard had a tougher time landing takedowns than I expected. He needed 15 attempts to take Siyar Bahadurzada down three times. Still, those takedowns were very important in what was otherwise an even fight. By the way, Joe Rogan has Howard exactly backwards. Howard is a good offensive grappler with flawed striking, not the other way around.
11 Dennis Siver +1.83
The way I saw it, either Siver would sprawl and brawl and beat Manny Gamburyan, or get taken down and lose. What I didn’t think Siver would do is take Gamburyan down twice, effectively sealing the first and third rounds. He also only absorbed 14 significant strikes in 15 minutes, minimizing the risk of a knockout loss. Good stuff from Siver.
12 Manny Gamburyan -1.83
Gamburyan is such a limited offensive fighter that he really needs his takedown game working. His 29:3 takedown ratio coming into this fight was very important. If it’s Gamburyan who’s getting taken down then he’s in big trouble, because his striking just isn’t good enough to win UFC fights on a consistent basis.
13 Siyar Bahadurzada -2.53
I was actually impressed by Bahadurzada’s takedown defense but his overall grappling still needs serious improvement. John Howard passed his guard six times, achieving dominant position and putting Bahadurzada exactly where he doesn’t want to be. It’s a cliche but one-dimensional fighters just don’t work in the UFC anymore.
14 Bobby Voelker -6.80
OK, I know Voelker gets hit a lot but this is ridiculous. No fighter should absorb 133 significant strikes in a three-round fight unless his opponent is Cain Velasquez.
15 Estevan Payan -6.86
Payan’s strength as a fighter is striking volume, but he wasn’t really able to distinguish himself in that area against Robbie Peralta. I’m just not sure Payan is cut out for the UFC.
16 Gleison Tibau -10.41
In case either Tibau or his coaches thought striking against Michael Johnson was a good idea, he was out-pointed 22-12 before being knocked out. Tibau is a wrestler/grappler. The more he strikes the worse he is.
17 Miesha Tate -11.72
I’m not the world’s biggest Tate fan, but I’ll give her this: she trained her armbar defense very hard. She made it genuinely difficult for Ronda Rousey to finish her that way. Even so, she was clearly outclassed in all areas.
18 Anderson Silva -13.21
I’m not a doctor but my gut reaction is that it would be best for Silva to hang up the gloves. At 38 years old it’s hard to imagine Silva coming all the way back from such a devastating broken leg to compete at a high level. He’s also been knocked down in consecutive fights and that’s a troubling trend as well. Silva is a legend and all-time great; retiring off two losses wouldn’t change that.
19 Chris Leben -13.40
It’s official: Leben is DONE. He looked awful at the weigh ins before putting on a very sloppy performance against Uriah Hall. Even at his best Leben was all grit and toughness and that’s completely gone now. I don’t need to see him lurching to land strikes anymore.
20 Fabricio Camoes -13.51
Camoes actually looked good standing up but then got armbarred by Jim Miller. Miller’s ground game is very good so it’s not something to be ashamed of, but since submissions are supposed to be Camoes’ strength, I can’t imagine what he’s supposed to do to win at a high level.
21 Diego Brandao -15.51
I don’t know exactly why Brandao was so out of shape. Maybe he was injured and needed the fight money. Whatever the case may be, Brandao’s normal seven-minute gas tank was reduced to about two minutes in this one. He just got pummeled by Dustin Poirier.
22 Josh Barnett -47.00
I’m not sure what conclusion to draw from Barnett’s loss, other than that it’s a bad idea to shoot a double-leg takedown against Travis Browne.

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