UFC 173

Renan Barao vs. TJ Dillashaw: What Fight Stats Tell Us About Matchup

Jul 21, 2012; Calgary, AB, CANADA; Renan Barao during the interim bantamweight title bout of UFC 149 against Urijah Faber (not pictured) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIMay 24, 2014

Mixed martial arts isn't the first sport you think of when someone mentions statistics, but the more data that is compiled, the more the numbers have a place in the analysis of the sport.

Like any other sport, the numbers mean nothing without perspective.

For example, one glance at the statistical comparison between UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao and TJ Dillashaw can be deceiving.

Dillashaw's statistics in strikes landed per minute, striking accuracy, takedown average and takedown defense are superior to Barao's, per FightMetric.com.

Here's a statistical overview:

Striking (Significant Strikes)

Stats

Barao

Dillashaw

Strikes Landed per Min. (SLpM)

3.70

4.84

Striking Accuracy

36%

49%

Strikes Absorbed per Min. (SApM)

2.33

2.13

Defense

67%

63%

Grappling

Stats

Barao

Dillashaw

Takedowns Average/15 min.

1.59

3.04

Takedown Accuracy

55%

48%

Takedown Defense

95%

100%

Submission Average/15 min.

0.9

2.3

What must be understood is that the two men's numbers were compiled against a different level of competition.

Oct 9, 2013; Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil;  TJ Dillashaw reacts during his match against Raphael Assuncao (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night 29 at Jose Correa Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Dillashaw has built his record by beating the likes of Mike Easton, Hugo Viana, Issei Tamura and Vaughan Lee. Barao has risen to stardom on the strength of two wins over Urijah Faber, stoppages of Eddie Wineland and Michael McDonald and a decision win over Scott Jorgensen.

He also owns a 32-fight win streak.

The numbers don't completely deceive. Dillashaw is one heck of a striker, but despite the edge in stats, Barao is better in this area. On Saturday, he seems intent on proving it. Barao told Bleacher Report: "I believe T.J. [Dillashaw] thinks he is a striker now, and he isn't. I think he will mess up and make mistakes in this fight, and this will present the chance for me to finish him. I'm very calm and ready for this fight, and I believe I will win this fight because I'm the better fighter."

Barao's striking numbers are somewhat affected by the world-class competition he's faced but also by the way he fights. He'll throw a combination that is designed to force his opponent to react in a specific way. The moment the opponent moves to avoid a strike, the next attack is already on its way and potentially more dangerous because of the momentum created from the previous strike attempt.

From a statistical standpoint, that brings percentages down, but it's proved to be very effective.

Listen to what MMA writers from around the globe are saying about Barao:

Dillashaw is worthy of a shot at a world title. Perhaps only Raphael Assuncao, the man who beat him in October 2013, is more deserving, but that's another story.

That said, don't get too preoccupied with the statistical advantages that Dillashaw appears to have over Barao. They won't prove relevant on Saturday night. The champion is a good bet to retain his title.

 

Follow me. I dig combat sports.

@BMaziqueFPBR

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