By @fightnomics Memorial Day weekend in Vegas always promises big fights, and having two titles at stake at UFC 187 is a great finish to a fight card. But the rest of the card is also well stacked, and it turns out there’s no lacking in power or knockout potential with these fighters. So let’s consider both the offensive Knockdown Rate and the Knockdown Defense of the fighters, and then consider how they might factor into their matchups. Some fighters are much better at scoring knockouts, while others are good at defending them, but lack power. Let’s see how they stack up.
Hall vs Natal In probably the biggest differential on the card, Uriah Hall brings a lot of knockdown power against the guy with the second lowest chin rating. That could spell disaster for Natal, who while possessing power of his own, has gotten dropped frequently. Kim vs Burkman Dong Hyun Kim rates well in the power department, and has dropped opponents twice as frequently as he’s been dropped himself. That volatility is still better than Burkman, who while proving to be resilient against sluggers like Hector Lombard, is also not much of a knockout threat himself. Dodson vs Makovsky At 8.5%, John Dodson has the highest Knockdown Rate in UFC Flyweight history. He’s already tallied seven knockdowns to his credit, and has never been dropped himself. He faces Makovsky, who has neither given nor received any knockdowns, but has instead defined fights with an aggressive pace and lots of wrestling. Dodson is clearly a greater finishing threat, but he’ll have to return to form after nearly a year-long layoff and defend takedowns early and often to keep the fight at a distance where he wants it. Benavidez vs Moraga The Flyweight division has some clearly heavy hitters like Dodson, but also a few sneaky knockout artists that fly under the radar like Joseph Benavidez. Benavidez has tallied six knockdowns, and only been dropped once in his title shot loss to current champion Demetrious Johnson, so he clearly has the upper hand here against Moraga who has lacked power and also defense. Moraga and Makovsky are the only fighters on the card without any distance knockdowns. Browne vs Arlovski Both Browne and Arlovski have high Knockdown Rates, well above the Heavyweight average. But Browne has proven to be much more durable, and his knockdowns received were in fights where he injured himself or ended up winning. Furthermore, these two guys used to train together, and the fight itself lacks the animosity that often fuels aggression and swinging for the fences. There’s a lot of volatility here, but the numbers still favor Browne as the more likely finishing threat. Cerrone vs Makdessi Cerrone is one of the heaviest hitters on the card, but Makdessi is no slouch and is a striking specialist who has yet to receive any knockdowns. The striking matchup here is intriguing, as Cerrone’s aggressive forward style could play into Makdessi’s precise counter-striking. On the ground is a different matter, with Cerrone having a much stronger advantage. But while this is on the feet, there’s plenty of potential for action in both directions. Co-Main Event: Weidman vs Belfort The highest pure Knockdown Rate on the card is Vitor Belfort at a ridiculous 20%. However, he who lives by the sword also dies by the sword, and Belfort also has the worst Knockdown Defense on the card. Weidman on the other hand, has above average power and also a clean record of no knockdowns received. Great potential here as well for an early finish. Main Event: Johnson vs Cormier The fighter with the biggest positive difference in knockdown offense vs defense is none other than Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. The main event has some of the closest odds on the entire card, and for good reason. Neither Johnson nor Cormier has ever been knocked down, but it’s the underdog Johnson who has the better chance for a knockout. For information on getting the “Fightnomics” the book, go here.