In my piece defending the five round title fight, I argued against Rami Genaur's posit that additional rounds would lead to more decisions. Rami realized his error in logic prior to reading my post, but he did bring up an idea that intuitively felt right. From his e-mail to Fightlinker:
Unless every MMA fighter drastically improves his cardio, this can’t work. Guys lose their finishing ability as the fight goes on.
I decided to run some numbers (what else is new?) to test the theory. In the following graph, we have the finishing rates by round. I must explain a couple things. One, I included UFC title fights, but disregarded anything past round four (mostly for sample size issues). For Pride fights, I split up the first round into two five minutes stanzas. I cut out the third round because, while I can isolate the Bushido fights, going through the database to pick out tournament fights was not my idea of fun.
Outside of the second period, it's interesting that the two lines are so similar. I believe it's fair to say that Rami's hypothesis is true, and may even be hardened if you believe the drop in Pride's second period is due to the ten minute first round.
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
I have a couple projects I want to work on, but the data gathering would be too much for one man. I want to look at the effect of referees and judges on fights. I'm looking for people with access to full UFC cards (whether it's UFC DVDs or "other" means makes no difference to me). You would be responsible for just two things. One, noting the referee for each fight. Two, for any fight that went to a decision, marking each judge and their score. I'm looking for this data for each fight since the implementation of the Unified Rules. Shoot me an e-mail if you're interested.