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Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis: Breaking Down the FightMetric Numbers

Kyle SymesCorrespondent IIIDecember 7, 2016

Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis: Breaking Down the FightMetric Numbers

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    They didn't headline the card, but much of the chatter exiting UFC 163 has focused around the results of Phil Davis vs. Lyoto Machida.

    The two light heavyweight contenders met one another in a three-round contest that saw both men exchange offensive charges. Machida was once again involved in a close decision on the scorecards, which has become the norm for the karate fighter.

    Davis would end up taking the decision by scores of 29-28, but it's clear many fans aren't digging the scorecards. Most will argue that Machida should've won, but what do the stats say?

    As the line goes, numbers don't lie.

Striking

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    Much of this contest was fought on the feet, with the bout getting off to a slow beginning. Lyoto Machida employed his typical strategy of using footwork to create angles, staying out of Davis' reach while biding his time to attack.

    Phil Davis, to his credit, didn't rush in like so many fighters before him. Having to chase Machida around for 15 minutes would undoubtedly frustrate anyone, but Davis was able to remain calm.

    The breakdown in FightMetric numbers doesn't help distance one fighter from the other, unfortunately. Over the course of three rounds, Machida landed more significant strikes (with greater accuracy), but Davis landed more total strikes.

    The first and second rounds saw Davis land more total strikes (and more significant strikes in the second round) but saw his striking attack slow in the third round.

     

    FightMetric Totals

    Davis: 21 of 90 significant strikes, 29 of 98 total strikes.

    Machida: 27 of 61 significant strikes, 27 of 61 total strikes.

Grappling

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    The path to victory coming into UFC 163 for Phil Davis was undoubtedly through his wrestling. That proved to be the case, as Davis was the clear victor in this category.

    Davis managed to only secure two takedowns out of 10 attempts, but with Machida throwing up a zero, it's hard to declare the former NCAA champion the clear winner here. Davis was able to land a takedown to end the first round and added another in the second round.

    His wrestling wasn't on par in the final round as Machida displayed his trademark takedown defense and stuffed all of Davis' takedown attempts.

     

    FightMetric Totals

    Davis: 2 of 10 takedowns, 1 pass.

    Machida: 0 takedowns.

Conclusion

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    I was surprised to come online Sunday morning and see how many people were crying foul at the judging here. Phil Davis was the clear winner in my opinion.

    Most of what I've seen from Lyoto Machida fans was the argument that Machida's flurry in the first round should've won him the round along with his takedown defense. 

    Looking at the striking totals, Machida was able to land more significant strikes but Davis landed more total. Looking at the rules for judging MMA, "effective striking" is determined by the fighter who lands the more total strikes—not significant strikes.

    Davis landed more total strikes, thus should be the winner when considering who won the striking battle.

    The grappling exchanges are where Machida fans have perhaps the best argument for why Machida should've won. Machida stopped many of the takedown attempts by Davis but was still taken down twice in two seperate rounds. Given how close the fight was on the feet, Davis separated himself with the takedowns even if Machida was able to ward off the majority of them.

    Machida had virtually two moments of offense through the entire fight with his flurry in the first and a beautiful cross-counterpunch later in the fight. Outside of that, Machida was virtually ineffective as Davis landed more strikes, secured two takedowns, and by virtue of Machida's evasive style, controlled the center of the Octagon (Octagon control).

     

    All stats were taken from FightMetric, the official statistics provider of the UFC.

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