Deciding Three Highly-Contested UFC Fights With Statistics

Brian OswaldFeatured Columnist IIMarch 20, 2017

If you start to Google the word statistics, one option that appears is the expression “Statistics don’t lie, but statisticians do.”

With that said, if you have never used Fight Metric, now is the time to start. Fight Metric proclaims to be the world's first comprehensive mixed martial arts statistics and analysis system.

Using results and data from thousands of MMA fights, the FightMetric system has commissioned itself with determining the true value of every strike, submission attempt, takedown, and position change in the sport.

According to the website, fights are carefully studied and tracked for 67 individual occurrences. Employing an innovative algorithm to synthesize the results, the FightMetric system produces objective, easy-to-understand scores that measure the totality of the fight.

While statistics alone should not be the basis for determining every fight, they can play a crucial role in breaking down a fight by removing emotion and individual perception.

Given that, let’s take a look at three recently contested decisions in the UFC and see how Fight Metric scored those fights. Click on the title of each fight to get to the official breakdown over at Fight Metric.

UFC 100

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alan Belcher

Many fans thoughts Belcher won the fight. Belcher himself was beside himself. He went over to Dana White after the fight. Akiyama won 29-28 on two judge’s scorecards and 30-27 on the third judge’s scorecard. Many thought Belcher won the fight 29-28.

Let’s see how Fight Metric scored it.

Based on their unique scoring method Fight Metric had Akiyama winning round one 140-95 and round two 78-59. The third round was razor thin with them giving the round to Belcher 148-144. Overall Fitch Metric had Akiyama winning the fight 362-302.

The fight was determined in large part in the striking department, where Akiyama outscored Belcher 319-274. A detailed breakdown reveals Akiyama dominated in the head strikes. He landed 65 total shots while Belcher landed 39. Belcher was very successful in the kicking department though, landing 26 of 33 leg kicks which allowed him to close some distance.

Akiyama also took Belcher down 3 out of 4 times and scored striking damage while there. Belcher did knock Akiyama down with a looping left in the first round, which likely had a majority of fans giving Belcher the first round—which Fight Metrics statistics clearly did not.

UFC 99

Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva

The UFC 99 main event was a close, 15-minute battle and fans of both fighters were convinced their man won. Fight Metric scored the fight very close, with Franklin winning the overall statistical battle 217-188.

Round one clearly went to Franklin as he won 55-19. Round two was taken by Silva with him outscoring Franklin 84-70. Franklin took the decisive round three 92-84. When a round is that close it is easy to see how fans could be split on who actually won such a see-saw battle.

This fight was all about the statistical striking, and if you look at the breakdown Franklin wins on volume. Franklin landed 67 total strikes to Silva’s 55, although those who gave Silva the win do so because he did more “damage”—especially the hard right hand Silva landed to Franklin's temple in the second round, that left him staggering backward.
In this fight it comes down to your perception of what constitutes a win. Clearly the judges went with volume and overall control of the fight, thus giving Franklin the razor thin win.  

UFC 99

Dan Hardy vs. Marcus Davis

We are all familiar with the fallout from this fight. Davis was emphatic that he won the fight, while Hardy said little to indicate he thought he won the fight. It was a good old fashioned split decision, although some in the media thought Hardy won all three rounds.

Fight Metric scored the fight very closely, giving the fight to Hardy 162-141. They actually gave Davis the first and third round, 41-37 and 41-29 respectively. So according to a 10-must system, Fight Metric gave Davis the fight 29-28. But on a statistical basis they have Hardy winning the fight because of a dominating second round where he outscored Davis 97-59.

If you look at the striking breakdown, Fight Metric has Hardy winning in that department 125-97—which seems puzzling since Davis out landed Hardy 104-73 in total strikes. He out landed him in head strikes 62-41 and body strikes 37-22. Hardly did have the edge in leg kicks 10-5.

Hardy also had the big knockdown in the second round, while Davis was not credited with the knock down in the third—they likely viewed it as Hardy tripping and falling. On first review, it appears that Davis should have won this fight, so a further breakdown will be needed. Hardy no doubt gets style points for landing the shots that did more visible damage to the face of Davis.


So, Fight Metric statistics confirm the judge’s conclusion that Akiayama, Franklin and Hardy all won their fights—although Fight Metric has Hardy losing on the 10 point must system.

There are plenty of other classic fight breakdowns on Fight Metric so check it out—like Quinton Jackson beating Forrest Griffin and Matt Hamill beating Michael Bisping.