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Old 09-20-2012, 09:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Graphing Fight Finishes by Division

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Other than Kenny Florian, who finishes fights? Let’s settle it once and for all. Using data provided by FightMetric, we looked at how every UFC fight ended from 2007 through the first half of 2012 — a total of 1438 total fights, excluding three flyweight contests — and then divvy’d it up by weight class to determine percentages for each method. For the first time ever, all these stats are in one place, in the chart above. Boom — you’ve just been databombed.

The conclusion: Size matters. Stoppages increase steadily by weight class; but while striking finish rates correlate strongly with increasing weight, submissions have a weaker, negative correlation. Keep in mind that bantamweights and featherweights have a short history in the UFC so far, so expect some possible smoothing out of those division trends over the next year.

Do any of these results surprise you? Next time the local Bullshido expert tells the bar that his favorite featherweight will finish the next fight, bet him the next round of drinks that it’ll go to the cards.


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I'm a nerd for data stuff like this. I like how the KO's scale almost exponentially toward the heavies, yet submissions are sort of all over the place with the highest being 85 and 55. Also, as a total, the fights are ended 72% of the time at HW. That's a 34% jump over the lowest, 38% at Featherweight, almost a 100% increase! Also of note, these numbers are from fights from 2007 on, meaning LW-HW have a significantly higher number of fights in their numbers than BW and FW. Even with those higher numbers, HW sustains that huge finishing rate!
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It claims to cite statistics from 2007 - 2012.

But can it be accurate considering bigger promotions didn't have featherweight / bantamweight / flyweight divisions until recently?

There wasn't the type of support nor interest in lighter weight classes to allow fighters in them to develop as much as fighters in other weight classes in a generalized sense?

To make an accurate comparison there will need to be more fighters & the lighter divisions will need to be as stacked & deep as the heavier divisions where there are tons of good fighters?

Its not a good comparison as the lighter divisions are newer & not as developed?
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Trix View Post
It claims to cite statistics from 2007 - 2012.

But can it be accurate considering bigger promotions didn't have featherweight / bantamweight / flyweight divisions until recently?

There wasn't the type of support nor interest in lighter weight classes to allow fighters in them to develop as much as fighters in other weight classes in a generalized sense?

To make an accurate comparison there will need to be more fighters & the lighter divisions will need to be as stacked & deep as the heavier divisions where there are tons of good fighters?

Its not a good comparison as the lighter divisions are newer & not as developed?
obviously it can still use numbers from each weight division without being impeded by the late start of the lighter weights, but its a bit disingenuous.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It would not matter if there is a representative sample of BW and FW divisions. They have to average fights out over the divisions regardless. There will never be anywhere near equal number of fights per divisions, so the fact these divisions were not around would only matter if the sample size was too small for a study.

In other words if there was 100 flyweight fights since 2007 and 300 MW fights, the average should still be a fairly good representation of trends.
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Its not necessarily about number of fights per division.

It has more to do infrastructure and support.

Imagine if you were a MMA trainer and your fee is a percentage cut of a fighter's earnings. Let's say an average welterweight in the UFC is paid an average of $100,000 a year through salary and sponsorships. By comparison lets say a featherweight might make $50,000 a year(I would guess it could well be less than that).

Whereas some fighters at LHW might make $250,000 per fight in salary a fighter at flyweight or featherweight might only be paid $8,000. The pay is massively smaller which provides less opportunities for fighters in lighter weight classes in terms of training camps, hiring support staff, etc.

There's a much lower influx of capital into the lighter classes which translates to fighters being less developed and further from being able to reach their peak potential.

The lighter weight classes at present are like the UFC in its earlier years when things were less developed and fighters were less well rounded. It used to be that fighters were for the most part only good in one area. They weren't being paid enough to be able to hire a jiu jitsu coach, a striking coach and a wrestling coach and train full time. There wasn't enough money available to them & in a lot of cases they may well have had to work 1 or 2 jobs and train in their time off which would have been difficult.

I think that's where the lighter classes are at now. They're not being paid a lot, they don't have the cash on hand or resources heavier weight classes have which would allow them to reach their peak potential. And the lighter weights don't have the depth where there is a large pool of talented guys who have been in the game for years and years. There are only maybe a few...

In a way comparing the older heavier weights with the newer lighter ones are like comparing MMA in its infancy to boxing in its prime. Of course, when boxers were making $20-50 million per fight & boxing is a developed sport with decades of history it makes sense that there would be the type of infrastructure and knowledge base that would allow fighters like Tyson to achieve a lot.

Whereas in MMA, when fighters weren't making a lot of money and there wasn't a lot of type of support or infrastructure and the sport is in its infancy it naturally follows that it would take time to develop.

I think that's how it is with the lighter classes, it'll take time for them to develop and how fast or slow it happens may be inversely proprtional to the necessity present in terms of monetary valuation. If flyweights are paid $500 per fight, that doesn't allow them to do what they need to do to train at their peak. Likewise considering the lighter weight fighters generally fall into that pay grade that doesn't leave them with a lot of options, I think it could be some time before they can afford a full training camp with the best coaches and nutritionists and support staff. That may well be the main obstacle that will prevent the lighter weight classes from being as deep, developed or skillful as the heavier classes which makes comparing them difficult.. maybe.
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Significantly more power and shittier footwork will lead to more knockouts. Submission numbers are dependent on how many guys in that division are really good at it. LHW and HW just simply don't have very many guys who have the mindset of primarily attacking with submissions. I would guess that LHW and HW have a much higher percentage of flash knockouts instead of TKOs as well which would impact the number of submission finishes.
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Old 09-21-2012, 07:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trix View Post
Its not necessarily about number of fights per division.

It has more to do infrastructure and support.

Imagine if you were a MMA trainer and your fee is a percentage cut of a fighter's earnings. Let's say an average welterweight in the UFC is paid an average of $100,000 a year through salary and sponsorships. By comparison lets say a featherweight might make $50,000 a year(I would guess it could well be less than that).

Whereas some fighters at LHW might make $250,000 per fight in salary a fighter at flyweight or featherweight might only be paid $8,000. The pay is massively smaller which provides less opportunities for fighters in lighter weight classes in terms of training camps, hiring support staff, etc.

There's a much lower influx of capital into the lighter classes which translates to fighters being less developed and further from being able to reach their peak potential.

The lighter weight classes at present are like the UFC in its earlier years when things were less developed and fighters were less well rounded. It used to be that fighters were for the most part only good in one area. They weren't being paid enough to be able to hire a jiu jitsu coach, a striking coach and a wrestling coach and train full time. There wasn't enough money available to them & in a lot of cases they may well have had to work 1 or 2 jobs and train in their time off which would have been difficult.

I think that's where the lighter classes are at now. They're not being paid a lot, they don't have the cash on hand or resources heavier weight classes have which would allow them to reach their peak potential. And the lighter weights don't have the depth where there is a large pool of talented guys who have been in the game for years and years. There are only maybe a few...

In a way comparing the older heavier weights with the newer lighter ones are like comparing MMA in its infancy to boxing in its prime. Of course, when boxers were making $20-50 million per fight & boxing is a developed sport with decades of history it makes sense that there would be the type of infrastructure and knowledge base that would allow fighters like Tyson to achieve a lot.

Whereas in MMA, when fighters weren't making a lot of money and there wasn't a lot of type of support or infrastructure and the sport is in its infancy it naturally follows that it would take time to develop.

I think that's how it is with the lighter classes, it'll take time for them to develop and how fast or slow it happens may be inversely proprtional to the necessity present in terms of monetary valuation. If flyweights are paid $500 per fight, that doesn't allow them to do what they need to do to train at their peak. Likewise considering the lighter weight fighters generally fall into that pay grade that doesn't leave them with a lot of options, I think it could be some time before they can afford a full training camp with the best coaches and nutritionists and support staff. That may well be the main obstacle that will prevent the lighter weight classes from being as deep, developed or skillful as the heavier classes which makes comparing them difficult.. maybe.
What you say makes absolute sense, but just wondering how does it affect the results?

We are going by weightclasses here. If the weightclass was just recently introduced and the fighters in it are lacking resources and funds to train, they should all be around the same level of skill, no? So how would it affect the results since the difference in skills among the fighters in each weightclass is about the same for all weightclasses? This would make the results legit since it would be taking into account the difference in skills within the weight class itself, not between different weight classes.

Well, that is as long as the sample size of fights taken is more than 50, then the finishing rate can be assumed to be normally distributed.

Sorry if I'm not getting your point correctly.
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Last edited by OHKO : 09-21-2012 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:44 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osmium View Post
Significantly more power and shittier footwork will lead to more knockouts. Submission numbers are dependent on how many guys in that division are really good at it. LHW and HW just simply don't have very many guys who have the mindset of primarily attacking with submissions. I would guess that LHW and HW have a much higher percentage of flash knockouts instead of TKOs as well which would impact the number of submission finishes.
Yes, the numbers show what pretty much should have been expected. Nothing surprising at all. But it's nonetheless nice to see the expectations confirmed.

Bantam weight is slightly off, but I guess that has to do with a less deep and heterogeneous distributed talent pool and consiquently higher rate of missmatchups. The rest of the weight classes show a quite linear change in fight endings.
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