Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC 191 Statistical Preview

Just to let you know ahead of time… my plan is to stop writing on this blog at the end of this year. That would make it five years of me writing on this blog and I think that’s enough. I’m at the point where I would rather focus on doing other things… but I do want to finish out this year, just to see how a full year of making bets using my statistical model looks.

It doesn’t mean I’ll be dropping off the face of the earth. I’ll still be on Twitter so if you’re ever curious about my thoughts on a fight, you can always send me a tweet or email.

Now, the one thing I have zero desire to do anymore is to write actual fight previews. Instead, for this weekend’s UFC 191 event, I’m going to share what the model thinks about each main card fight and give some commentary about that.

I’ll also be sharing some stats: Strike Score, Knockdown Score, and Takedown Score.

Strike Score is based on the number of significant strikes a fighter lands, and the number of significant strikes his opponent absorbs. A score of 100 is average; anything above 100 suggests above-average significant strike potential. The same thing is true of Takedown Score.

Knockdown Score represents the ability of each fighter to land a knockdown on a per-strike basis. 100 represents an average score. A knockdown score of 200 means a fighter has double the average chance to score a knockdown on any given significant strikes. A knockdown score of 50 represents half the average chance of scoring a knockdown on a significant strike. Expect the Knockdown Scores to vary more wildly than the Strike Scores or Takedown Scores.

Keep in mind that these scores are not adjusted for strength of competition. It’s possible that one fighter will have higher scores across the board but still be the underdog according to the statistical model, because of the level each fighter has been competing at.

Main event: John Dodson vs. Demetrious Johnson

Fighter Win Pct. Estimate Strike Score Knockdown Score Takedown Score
John Dodson 17.1% 70.5 177.7 69.7
Demetrious Johnson 82.9% 123.3 20.8 150.5

Dodson is a flyweight who hits like a heavyweight. He has freakish one-punch knockout power for the 125 pound division. That’s also the only thing he really has going for him in this match. Johnson is the superior striker and wrestler, and should win any fight that goes the distance against Dodson. Dodson really has just a “puncher’s chance,” but his puncher’s chance is better than that of most fighters.

Co-main event: Andrei Arlovski vs. Frank Mir

Fighter Win Pct. Estimate Strike Score Knockdown Score Takedown Score
Andrei Arlovski 77.2% 127.8 393.9 19.1
Frank Mir 22.8% 64.3 475.4 69.4

Arlovski and Mir both have big punching power AND a fragile chin. That’s why each fighter’s knockdown score is so ridiculously high. This fight is almost certain to end in a knockout one way or the other. But the model doesn’t see this as a coin flip fight. Instead, it gives a sizable edge to Arlovski, whose striking statistics are far better than Mir’s. If Arlovski can land a lot more strikes than Mir in the fight, then his chances of winning by KO should be much higher as well.

Anthony Johnson vs. Jimi Manuwa

Fighter Win Pct. Estimate Strike Score Knockdown Score Takedown Score
Anthony Johnson 90.8% 101.2 443.8 103.9
Jimi Manuwa 9.2% 75.2 49.5 54.0

This looks like a “stay busy” fight for Rumble Johnson. He hits like a ton of bricks; you didn’t need me to tell you that. But Johnson’s striking and takedown statistics are also superior to Manuwa’s and that doesn’t even account for Johnson’s higher level of competition. It will be a huge upset if Manuwa wins this one.

Corey Anderson vs. Jan Blachowicz

Fighter Win Pct. Estimate Strike Score Knockdown Score Takedown Score
Corey Anderson 57.5% 134.8 39.2 119.6
Jan Blachowicz 42.5% 106.9 48.0 41.3

Anderson is coming off a knockout loss to Gian Villante, but he still rates as above average in both strikes and takedowns. However, Jan Blachowicz has faced a higher level of competition, so that makes this fight a little closer – which is why Anderson is only a small favorite at 57.5 percent. With relatively low knockdown scores on both sides, this could be a light-heavyweight fight that goes the distance.

Alex Chambers vs. Paige VanZant

Fighter Win Pct. Estimate Strike Score Knockdown Score Takedown Score
Alex Chambers 13.2% 85.2 57.4 146.5
Paige VanZant 86.8% 151.8 37.2 146.0

Not shown here is VanZant’s 15 year youth advantage or the fact that VanZant looks to be the far superior overall athlete. VanZant’s betting price of -1500 does seem a bit high but make no mistake about it, this is a squash match.

Bonus: Paul Felder vs. Ross Pearson

Fighter Win Pct. Estimate Strike Score Knockdown Score Takedown Score
Paul Felder 45.5% 104.3 165.6 58.7
Ross Pearson 54.5% 118.5 170.2 78.6

Felder’s betting price of -440 is just absurd. I like the guy, but is Felder REALLY that good? He looked great against Danny Castillo and then dropped a decision to Edson Barboza… and now he’s expected to dominate Ross Pearson? Pearson actually has the slightly better striking statistics, and that makes him a slight favorite to win according to the model.

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9 responses to “UFC 191 Statistical Preview

  1. Stoyan September 3, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Oh man, that’s very unfortunate. I like your blog a lot and I really love your statistical model! I’ve never seen somebody winning 200% bankroll in a year, seriously.

    • David Williams September 4, 2015 at 9:15 am

      I appreciate that, Stoyan. Like I said, I’m not going into seclusion. I’ll still be on Twitter and a lot of the analysis I’ve been putting on this blog will probably show up there instead.

  2. Cyrus September 3, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    That sucks! :/ I wish at least the degen corner would go on! Either case, thanks for the posts so far.

  3. Nick September 4, 2015 at 5:05 am

    Enjoyed how you broke it down this way… Looking forward to the full card stats.

  4. Nick September 4, 2015 at 6:17 am

    Want to see what the stats say for:
    Lineker vs. Rivera
    Collard vs. Trator
    Stallings vs. Riggs
    Malegarie vs. Silva

  5. Art September 4, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    MIR =SOUTHPAW + more power, but odd footwork+gets pinned to cage -easy to see upset
    -defies prediction but your model ignores stance I think (?) AA has lost to Southpaws like Rumble

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