Chan-Sung Jung will face Jose Aldo in the main event of UFC 163 on Saturday and will attempt to become the first person to defeat the Brazilian since Luciano Azevedo handed the featherweight champion the only loss of his career in 2005.
If you look at the fight from the Vegas perspective, it shouldn't be close. Aldo is a -750 favorite according to Bovada and "The Korean Zombie" doesn't have too many experts backing him as a legitimate contender for the belt.
Considering Aldo's impressive dominance of the featherweight division and Jung's extensive layoff (over 400 days), there's definitely reason to doubt the Korean Zombie's odds of pulling off the upset. However, Chris Weidman was coming off a long layoff against a dominant Brazilian champion when he won at UFC 162, so there's reason to take a closer look at this fight.
Here are what the stats tell us heading into Saturday night's main event.
All statistics via FightMetric unless otherwise noted.
When it comes to fight statistics, there are two general things they can show us. The first is pure volume. How many strikes does a fighter land per minute?
For Chan-Sung Jung, setting a high pace has always been a priority, his cardio is one of his best assets. Here's a look at the pace each is capable of setting.
From a sheer numbers perspective, Jung matches up favorably with Aldo. He lands more strikes per minute, scores more takedowns per 15 minutes and attempts more submissions. However, a key difference is defense.
Aldo takes nearly half of the strikes that Sung Jung does. We love the Korean Zombie for his toughness, but taking that many shots against Aldo is a dangerous prospect. As Reed Kuhn of Fightnomics points out, Aldo's punching power is a serious factor.
Jose Aldo's knockdown rate is slightly higher than the Light Heavyweight average. He literally punches above his weight #UFC163— Fightnomics Reed (@Fightnomics) July 30, 2013
That's something that these numbers can't account for.
Obviously, volume isn't the only thing that matters. The best fighters are able to utilize precision and efficiency to neutralize their opponent.
Here's a look at how the two stack up in terms of accuracy and efficiency.
Considering Jung's advantage in the volume department, it's interesting that Aldo doesn't hold a greater advantage in efficiency. The Korean Zombie may set a high pace, but he remains relatively accurate in doing so.
Obviously, caliber of opponents is important to note here. Jung has fought the likes of George Roop and Leonard Garcia while Aldo has posted his numbers against Chad Mendes, Kenny Florian and Frankie Edgar.
While the edge in competition goes to Aldo, the challenger once again compares favorably with the champion.
Method of Victory
At the end of the day it doesn't matter who sets a better pace, is more accurate or has better takedowns. What matters is who gets their hand raised.
Both fighters have obviously picked up their fair share of wins. Aldo is an impressive 22-1 in his career. Here's the breakdown of how he won his 22 fights.
And here's the breakdown for Jung's 13 victories.
Here's where Aldo's power comes into play. He's knocked out a staggering percentage of his opponents while rarely ever going to a decision. Considering Jung's abysmal striking defense, that could be the deciding factor.
Conversely, Jung has an impressive submission rate throughout his career. Aldo is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, but there's no denying that the Korean Zombie will make things interesting when the fight hits the mat.
Overall, the numbers say that this fight could be much more interesting than it's getting credit for.