FanPost

Finishing Rates - UFC 1 thru UFC FX 1 - (Stat Geeks)


Before I get started, a quick shout-out to theslynx and his two fanposts that got me interested in this.

Fightmetrix: Please don't sue me. This is your data, and I love you for that. Share the love.

I'll save any real analysis for later, but wanted to get the raw numbers out here so that you folks could see them.

One thing that did jump out at me while working with this data was just how much the UFC grew after 2004 (and TUF season 1). Total fights doubled in 2005, then doubled again in 2006, and have been climbing ever since. The last 30% of the UFC's lifespan (beginning in 2006) has accounted for 75% of its fights.

Anyway, on to the results by weight class.

First, here's the consolidated data for every weight class (including open weight and catch weight):

Year FIGHTS SUB Sub % KO/TKO KO/TKO % FINISH %
1994 32 24 75% 8 25% 100%
1995 36 26 72% 7 19% 92%
1996 39 19 49% 15 38% 87%
1997 40 21 53% 11 28% 80%
1998 25 8 32% 9 36% 68%
1999 39 10 26% 18 46% 72%
2000 39 13 33% 10 26% 59%
2001 38 10 26% 16 42% 68%
2002 49 10 20% 24 49% 69%
2003 38 8 21% 16 42% 63%
2004 37 12 32% 15 41% 73%
2005 72 22 31% 31 43% 74%
2006 139 44 32% 45 32% 64%
2007 167 55 33% 50 30% 63%
2008 201 54 27% 83 41% 68%
2009 209 50 24% 67 32% 56%
2010 248 61 25% 63 25% 50%
2011 294 57 19% 90 31% 50%
2012 19 8 42% 6 32% 74%

A few unsurprising trends, including a gradual reduction in finishing rates and corresponding increase in decisions, but...

What I find most interesting here is that, after a couple big dips in the first 4 years, submission finishing rates have more or less leveled off in the 25-33% range. While there are certainly many other plausible explanations, what this says to me is that submission grappling training suffers from significant diminishing marginal returns (at least as pertains to MMA submission defense). It is logical to assume that, after the first two BJJ-dominated years of the UFC, fighters quickly wised-up and began devoting more training to submission grappling. Within two years, submission rates had fallen to a level they more or less remain at today. For me, this implies that the difference between 0 years and 1 or 2 years of dedicated submission grappling training, is significantly greater than the difference between 2 years of and 5 (or 10, or 20).

Before I get carried away chasing that thread, let's move on to the numbers by weight class, starting with Lightweight:

YEAR FIGHTS SUB Sub % KO/TKO KO/TKO % FINISH %
1997 14 8 57% 3 21% 79%
1998 5 2 40% 3 60% 100%
1999 5 1 20% 1 20% 40%
2000 7 2 29% 2 29% 57%
2001 8 1 13% 4 50% 63%
2002 7 2 29% 2 29% 57%
2003 7 1 14% 3 43% 57%
2004 4 1 25% 1 25% 50%
2005 0 0 0 0 0 0
2006 16 8 50% 5 31% 81%
2007 50 20 40% 10 20% 60%
2008 52 18 35% 12 23% 58%
2009 45 19 42% 10 22% 64%
2010 53 19 36% 7 13% 49%
2011 53 15 28% 15 28% 57%
2012 5 3 60% 1 20% 80%

At lightweight we find a notably lower KO/TKO finishing rate, but a generally higher submission finishing rate, and, other, than a blip in 2006, roughly equivalent overall finishing rates beginning in 2007. I find this interesting, as it implies that LWs attempt to make up for their relative lack of KO power by working more for submission finishes.

I'm off to lunch now. Rest of the numbers are below, I'll update with analysis if I have time later.

Welterweight:

YEAR FIGHTS SUB Sub % KO/TKO KO/TKO % FINISH %
2000 7 3 43% 1 14% 57%
2001 9 3 33% 4 44% 78%
2002 10 2 20% 4 40% 60%
2003 7 4 57% 0 0% 57%
2004 11 4 36% 4 36% 73%
2005 20 8 40% 6 30% 70%
2006 40 14 35% 8 20% 55%
2007 42 17 40% 12 29% 69%
2008 44 9 20% 18 41% 61%
2009 53 11 21% 16 30% 51%
2010 60 15 25% 13 22% 47%
2011 52 8 15% 15 29% 44%
2012 3 1 33% 1 33% 67%

Middleweight:

YEAR FIGHTS SUB Sub % KO/TKO KO/TKO % FINISH %
1998 11 5 45% 3 27% 73%
1999 12 4 33% 8 67% 100%
2000 7 3 43% 2 29% 71%
2001 4 1 25% 0 0% 25%
2002 12 3 25% 8 67% 92%
2003 7 1 14% 4 57% 71%
2004 8 6 75% 1 13% 88%
2005 23 5 22% 11 48% 70%
2006 34 13 38% 10 29% 68%
2007 28 9 32% 11 39% 71%
2008 46 19 41% 16 35% 76%
2009 37 12 32% 10 27% 59%
2010 51 12 24% 12 24% 47%
2011 43 9 21% 16 37% 58%
2012 2 1 50% 1 50% 100%

Light Heavyweight:

YEAR FIGHTS SUB Sub % KO/TKO KO/TKO % FINISH %
2000 4 1 25% 2 50% 75%
2001 8 2 25% 3 38% 63%
2002 8 0 0% 2 25% 25%
2003 5 0 0% 4 80% 80%
2004 4 0 0% 3 75% 75%
2005 14 5 36% 5 36% 71%
2006 30 9 30% 11 37% 67%
2007 33 7 21% 16 48% 70%
2008 30 5 17% 19 63% 80%
2009 34 2 6% 13 38% 44%
2010 34 7 21% 11 32% 53%
2011 33 7 21% 15 45% 67%







Heavyweight:

YEAR FIGHTS SUB Sub % KO/TKO KO/TKO % FINISH %
1997 26 13 50% 8 31% 81%
1998 7 1 14% 3 43% 57%
1999 18 4 22% 8 44% 67%
2000 12 4 33% 2 17% 50%
2001 9 3 33% 5 56% 89%
2002 11 3 27% 8 73% 100%
2003 10 2 20% 5 50% 70%
2004 7 1 14% 6 86% 100%
2005 14 3 21% 9 64% 86%
2006 22 3 14% 12 55% 68%
2007 19 3 16% 6 32% 47%
2008 23 3 13% 17 74% 87%
2009 24 6 25% 13 54% 79%
2010 31 6 19% 16 52% 71%
2011 23 3 13% 12 52% 65%
2012 2 1 50% 1 50% 100%

If Interested, you can grab my spreadsheet from here: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B5vOqfH1nzfXMTUwNzQxY2QtNjA4Mi00YTBiLWI0Y2MtNzk4YjM0NWJhZmIy

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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