Today the UFC held the weigh-ins for UFC 133 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. All fighters made weight with little trouble except Bantamweight Ivan Menjivar who weight in 3 pounds over the 135lb weight class and 2 pounds over the acceptable limit (136lbs). Ivan had two hours to cut the final two pounds but was unable (or unwilling) to do so. His opponent, Nick Pace, accepted the fight despite Menjivar's weight (as well he should as he came in over at the TUF 12 Finale.
Discussion in the comment section of the weigh-in thread led me to wondering whether or not missing weight had a positive or negative effect on the outcome of the fight. My initial thought is that a fighter missing weight would be at a disadvantage. When missing weight a fighter most likely has pushed his body to its absolute limits trying to make the cut. He's completely dehydrated himself which will make it hard be at peak performance by fight night. To take a quick look at this I attempted to find as many recent weigh-in failures from recent UFC history as I could find. Admittedly this is a small sample, but it should give us a quick look at the effects of bad weight cutting.
Details after the jump.
Travis Lutter (UFC 67) v Anderson Silva - Lutter missed weight by 1.5 lbs going into his underdog match against the reigning champion. Lutter seemed to do well in the first, but tapped to a triangle choke in the 2nd Round. It's hard to say how badly the weight effected Lutter as Silva has convincingly defeated all of his UFC opponents.
Thiago Alves (UFC 85) v Matt Hughes - The first round showed both fighters having some success with their respective gameplans. Alves scored on the feet while Hughes landed a takedown and tried to wear Thiago down with some GnP. The second round was a different story, wherein Hughes failed on a takedown attempt and Alves landed a devastating flying knee that lead to a TKO. Thiago has shown very good takedown defense throughout his UFC career, so giving up the takedown in the first could be a sign that Alves was effected by his cut. However, it should be noted that he was explosive enough in the second to score the finish.
Mike Pyle (UFC 98) v Brock Larson - Pyle came in as a very late replacement for Chris Wilson (one day's notice). He was not able to hit 171 in time for the weigh-ins, but was granted the extra pound. It wouldn't matter however as Larson steamrolled him to a quick sub in the 1st. There are two many variables here to really say the impact of the weigh in.
Paul Daley (UFC 108) v Dustin Hazelett - Daley was unable to make weight for the fight (not the first or last time as he's missed weight for 5 of his last 11 bouts). He still managed an impressive 1st round KO of the BJJ black belt. Daley's used to missing weight, 'nuff said.
Rory Markham (UFC 111) v Nate Diaz - Markham came in 6 lbs over the Welterweight limit in Diaz's debut in the division. Undeterred, Diaz outclassed and finished Rory in the first. I haven't seen the fight, but Markham's UFC record is less than impressive, with one win and a KO loss to the fabled power of Dan Hardy. He could have been hindered by the weight cut, or he could just be that much worse than Diaz.
Thiago Alvez (UFC 117) v Jon Fitch - Again Alves makes the list. In a lackluster loss to Fitch, Alves demonstrated why Jon is the #2 WW in the world: You know what he's going to do but it really doesn't matter. Considering that in his previous fights against high level wrestlers Alves has shown strong TDD, I'd say that he was very debilitated by his weight cut.
Ben Henderson (UFC 129) v. Mark Bocek - Bendo was unable to drop a single half pound at the weigh-ins for his UFC 129 bout against Mark Bocek. But it would prove to have no negative impact. Through 15 minutes of dominance Henderson showed no signs of weariness earning a definitive 30-27 decision on all the judges scorecards.
Nick Pace (TUF 12 Finale) v. Will Campuzano - As mentioned above Pace came in over weight in his last bout (coincidentally at the same weight as Menjivar). In a well fought battle by both fighters, Pace would score a modified triangle choke well into the 3rd frame. I've only ever seen the gif of the submission and it still makes no sense to me, but has since been aptly named the Pace choke. Back on topic, there's no way a dehydrated or weakened fighter would be able to win two round through dominant grappling and finish with a unique submission.
Efrain Escudero (UFN 22) v Charles Oliveira - A smaller Lightweight, Efrain Escudero came in at four pounds over the limit for what would be his last UFC bout. Efrain seemed lethargic and uninspired in the fight and literally let C"DB"O throw him around before securing a standing RNC/Neck Crank. It's hard to say if the cut was what killed Efrain's UFC career (being the first TUF winner to get cut) or a complete lack of motivation. And it could be both.
The final results obviously give little indication as to the outcome of the a missed weight bout. However, I think some things can be taken from this information. First, with every fight aside from Ben Henderson's and Alvez/Fitch, ended in a finish. And all but one of those ended in the first 2 rounds. This could be an indication that a fighter coming off a failed cut is likely to be able to perform well early, but not later in the fight. It also clearly illustrates that Bendo is not human and can't be bound by logic, and no one expected a finish from Fitch anyway. Second, a failed weigh in is only a small variable in a fighter's performance. Their ability to recover and rehydrate is the most important factor here, and that can hurt a performance even when they are able to cut the last couple pounds (see James Irvin).