The puncher’s chance in professional mixed martial arts competition
Keywords:MMA, Sports performance, UFC
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and particularly the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has rapidly evolved and grown significantly over the past 20 years. Sports performance research into MMA is limited, and as such, there are potential gains to be made by practitioners supported by scientific research. The outcomes of UFC bouts from 1997 to 2020 that ended with a knockout (n = 1815) were analysed as a function of each fighters significant strike percentage to quantify the “puncher’s chance”. Logistic regression was utilised to model the association between the outcome (win or loss), and the strike percentage. The limit of this model then provides the absolute minimum odds associated with the puncher’s chance (as the percentage approaches zero). Results gave a value of approximately 1:2000 for a fighter that is being completely outclassed. Features in the data highlighted what are dubbed “practical” values of the puncher’s chance. For a mildly outclassed fighter, landing 35% to 45% of total strikes, the odds were 1:40.
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