Quick turnaround from a bizarre UFC 127, which included the second inconclusive main event judges' decision of a very young 2011, as well as a couple of fairly shocking upsets. But I guess that's why we watch. In any case, my stat-based features return under what I hope to be a catchier banner. I've also whipped up a brief (-as-possible) primer on this particular brand of number-crunching, which I'll include after the break from now on, for new readers or those who still aren't quite sure what I'm actually trying to do here.
As far as updated tallies go, Adjusted Strength of Record-based fight predictions scored two out of four, barely reducing accuracy to 21/38 or 55%. Value bet picks fared identically, and of course, the two correct returns were the ones that I mocked as impossible. All the same, those bizarre left fielders kept value bet accuracy alive on life support, bringing the total to 10/26 or 38%.
This is one of the most exciting fights to come out of the WEC-UFC merger so far, and it's not even a new match-up. Two and a half years ago, Bowles and Page met each other in our favorite little blue cage, both coming off important wins. Bowles had more to gain than the longer-toothed Page, and he indeed emerged victorious, by way of a standing guillotine in the first round. Since then, both men have traveled nearly identical paths, with one submission and one hellacious knockout victory apiece, followed by losses in their respective last fights. Former champion Bowles has the clear advantage, especially with Page having lost his last contest in the same way that Bowles had previously bested him, but the true appeal of this fight lies in its very serious potential to end in a double knockout- these guys both have an extreme case of dynamite hands.
An interesting short-notice pairing boils down to a dead heat according to the ASR formula. Or to be more precise, UFC debutant Chris Weidman actually leads vet Alessio Sakara by about eight hundredths of a percent. Not at all significant, and it's not hard to imagine why. Sakara is seasoned and talented, but inconsistent. He doesn't always win when he's supposed to, which isn't a great distinction to bring into a bout against a highly regarded prospect. Weidman was a D1 All-American wrestler at Hofstra University, and brought that pedigree to the Serra-Longo Fight Team, where he's been making impressive strides, including capturing the middleweight title in New Jersey's Ring of Combat promotion. To his credit, Sakara has been compiling a respectable resume at 185, but it remains to be seen if he'll blossom into any sort of worldbeater. As a still-young veteran, it's tempting to give him the edge, but I think there's truth in the ASR scores: Weidman has momentum on his side... barely.
This is a relevant fight, but I don't like Dollaway and I just want Munoz to smash his face.
Great style match-up to top the main card- I love this fight and I think it could easily co-headline a PPV show. Kampmann and Sanchez have both demonstrated excellence over every inch of the cage, so unlike many fights with tons of potential but also the risk of devolving into an Ultimate Staring/Hugging Championship situation, I have every reason to believe that this one will deliver no matter where it goes. Sanchez is already showing off a fresh coat of paint from Greg Jackson's camp, as he can run from his old nickname for whatever silly reason he wants, but he looked every bit the Nightmare against Paulo Thiago. Kampmann will enter the cage with tight submissions and tighter kickboxing, and you have to think that he'll be equally happy to stand and trade or to try catching Sanchez with the guillotine. If I'm picturing it correctly, Kampmann should have the size advantage, and all else equal (or just weird and difficult to compare), the bigger guy should bring home the win.
|Fight||ASR Favorite||ASR Odds||Book Odds||Spread||"Value Bet"|
|Bowles (-280) vs. Page (+220)||Bowles||62%||70%||-8||x|
|Weidman (-220) vs. Sakara (+180)||Weidman||50%||66%||-16||Sakara|
|Munoz (-180) vs. Dollaway (+150)||Munoz||53%||62%||-9||x|
|Kampmann (-155) vs. Sanchez (+125)||Kampmann||51%||58%||-7||x|
The above lines are courtesy of Bookmaker, since BetUS didn't publish odds for the full main card, and both websites tend to have similar trending and overround. Most of the ASR odds run too close to the book odds to justify any action, but a play on Alessio Sakara looks pretty reasonable. As mentioned earlier, Sakara and Weidman are neck-and-neck in the ASR column, so (theoretically) there's no glaring reason to think that the oddsmaker underdog couldn't pull through.
What is Tasormetrics?
Tasormetrics is the study and application of certain aggregate statistics based exclusively upon win-loss records. It can be applied to any sport, but was designed for use in a combat sports context, specifically mixed martial arts. The name of the discipline is derived from its flagship statistic, Time-sensitive Adjusted Strength of Record or TASR.
The most basic single value associated with win-loss records is win percentage. A fighter with a 10-0 record has triumphed in 100% of his bouts, a 9-1 fighter boasts a 90% success rate, and so on. In team sports such as football, baseball, or basketball, win% is a useful measure because every team plays nearly the same number of games per season. In mixed martial arts, there are no meticulously-crafted seasons. When comparing the momentum of two fighters entering a bout against each other, one participant, for various reasons, could have easily had no other fights over the previous year, while the other might have had two or three or even more. This potential for imbalance necessitates two conditions when generating fighters' comparative statistics: 1.) a timeframe or "season" from which to collect data must be defined and 2.) the number of bouts contested by each fighter within that timeframe must be somehow represented.
The combination of these factors- win%, quantity of fights, and a specified length of time- produces Time-sensitive Raw Strength of Record or TRSR. (As a degree of time sensitivity is a necessary constant across all tasormetrics output, the "T" is generally omitted from the acronym, leaving RSR as the accepted symbol.) RSR values are quite easy to extrapolate: the busier and more successful a fighter is, the higher his RSR score will be. With one year as a sample timeframe, a 1-1 fighter scores a 0.7071 RSR, while a 3-0 fighter earns 1.7321. Two relatively complex attributes of the RSR formula bear mentioning: 1.) "total fights" is adjusted to "fights per year." This permits fair comparison between scores generated from timeframes of various sizes (Chuck Liddell's entire career vs. just his 2005-2006 championship reign, for example). 2.) Fights per year data is subjected to a curve of diminishing returns. In other words, every fight beyond the first contributes a progressively smaller amount to the final value. This prevents a 4-0 record from simply returning twice the RSR score of a 2-0 record.
Even in sports with evenly-distributed seasons, win% isn't a truly reliable indicator of success, owing to the varying degrees of difficulty presented by each team. To accommodate for this, some college sports utilize a Strength of Schedule formula, which amalgamates the win percentages of a team's opponents and even those opponents' opponents. Tasormetrics employs a conceptually similar statistic, the eponymous Time-sensitive Adjusted Strength of Record (TASR, or, for all intents and purposes, ASR). Within any specified timeframe, ASR scores are generated from a target fighter's win%, total bouts (as fights per year), and opponents' RSR scores (and thus, indirectly, those opponents' win percentages and fight totals) as calculated on the dates of their respective contests. To date, the standard timeframe for both RSR and ASR data is 3 years, and should be assumed as so unless otherwise noted. This potentially inflates the data pool for ASR calculations to 6 years. For example: to find Fighter A's ASR score as of January 1, 2011, one would collect all relevant data from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2010. If Fighter A had a bout with Fighter B on January 1, 2008, Fighter B's simpler RSR score would be calculated with data from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2007. The total timeframe would stretch 6 years from the first day of 2005 to the last day of 2010.