It's an interesting subject that probably comes up more in boxing than in MMA, but it's definitely more intriguing in the MMA world due to the large variance in styles. I ran the analysis with all MMA bouts that we have on record (over 68,000).
So how often does A beat C? First, let's acknowledge the potential issues in analyzing this statistic.
One problem is that sometimes these A/B, B/C, and A/C bouts take place multiple times, with varying results. Another problem lies in the timing of said bouts. So I laid out some guidelines.
- A/B and B/C must both take place before A/C. This is an obvious one.
- The most recent A/B and B/C results before A/C are acknowledged. In other words, if A beat B five years before A/C, but A lost to B three months ago in their most recent bout before A/C, then this chain won't be included in the analysis.
- If multiple A/C results are available and all guidelines are met, then all A/Cs will be counted.
In the end, A prevailed over C at a 71% success rate (2988 of 4210).
When all three bouts occur within a 3 year window, the success rate improves to 72.3% (2144 of 2967).
Within a 2 year window, 73% (1590 of 2179).
18 months, 74.2% (1211 of 1633).
12 months, 75.2% (732 of 974).
9 months, 77.5% (488 of 630).
6 months, 80.9% (262 of 324).
3 months, 85.6% (77 of 90).
Sample Analysis: Cheick Kongo
Cheick Kongo (A) beat Andre Tete (B) on 6/10/2001
Andre Tete (B) beat Dave Dagliesh (C) on 12/1/2002
Cheick Kongo (A) beat Dave Dagliesh (C) on 12/11/2005
Cheick Kongo (A) beat Christian Wellisch (B) on 8/26/2006
Christian Wellisch (B) beat Dan Evensen (C) on 4/1/2006
Cheick Kongo (A) beat Dan Evensen (C) on 8/9/2008
Cheick Kongo (A) beat Mirko Filipovic (B) on 9/8/2007
Mirko Filipovic (B) beat Heath Herring (C) on 6/8/2003
Cheick Kongo (A) failed to beat Heath Herring (C) on 3/1/2008
Thanks to ltokuda, one of our readers, for the idea!