UFC 84 by the numbers

If you watched UFC 84 then you saw some things that rarely happen. Let’s start with the main event.

BJ Penn vs. Sean Sherk

If you watched this fight, you saw what was probably the most effective use of the jab in MMA history. BJ Penn stood and used Sean Sherk’s face like a speed bag, connecting on 81 jabs from striking distance in three rounds. Of the hundreds of fights in FightMetric’s database – a representative sample of MMA fights as a whole – no fighter has ever landed more than 60 jabs in 15 minutes. This speaks more to Penn’s unique strategy than to anything else. No one else has ever sat back so patiently, picking away shot after shot. Most fighters who are able to land jabs at will open up and go in for the power strikes that put fighters away. Penn only saw fit to go for the kill with eight seconds left in the third round.

It’s hard to blame him for choosing what he did. Penn connected with the jab 70% of the time (81 of 115 attempts). The average accuracy rate is 35%, making Penn twice as accurate with his jab as the typical fighter. If you can make that work, you may as well stick with it.

Lyoto Machida vs. Tito Ortiz

If you watched this fight, you saw the extremely rare occurrence of an upper-echelon fighter scoring zero points in a full round. In the first round of the fight, Tito Ortiz attempted 18 strikes and two takedowns. He landed none of them. In fact, it took Ortiz a full eight minutes before he landed his first significant offensive technique. FightMetric awards points for effectiveness based on the historical quality of techniques landed. In the first round, Machida out-pointed Ortiz 41-0. In the second round, it was 62-2.

During this fight, you also saw the rare occurrence where a single body shot led to a knockdown, but didn’t lead to a knockout. As it stands, body shots rarely put guys down, but when they do, it’s usually curtains for the dropped fighter. Fans of the body shot will remember David Loiseau’s spinning back kick against Charles McCarthy and Melvin Guillard’s body punch against Gabe Ruediger. Both of those were immediately followed-up with hard strikes on the ground that resulted in a TKO. In this fight, Machida landed a hard knee to the liver that knocked Ortiz down. Credit Ortiz with the toughness to not only stave off the ensuing attack, but recover enough to nearly submit Machida less than two minutes later.

Rousimar Palhares vs. Ivan Salaverry

If you watched this fight, you saw a fighter achieve a perfect performance rating without throwing a single strike. FightMetric’s Total Performance Rating (TPR) is a statistic used to measure the quality of a fighter’s performance. Scored on a scale between 0-100, TPR provides an easy way to measure and compare performance in any fight, whether 30 seconds or 30 minutes long. Think of TPR for MMA fighters what the NFL’s Passer Rating is for quarterbacks.

Rousimar Palhares got a perfect rating of 100 by submitting Salaverry in under three minutes. In that time Palhares scored a takedown, passes to side, mount, and back, and then worked for a rear-naked choke and the fight-ending armbar. On a night where Wanderlei Silva let his fists lead him to perfection, it was interesting to watch a fighter with elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu be able to do the same.

Yoshiyuki Yoshida vs. Jon Koppenhaver

If you watched this fight, you saw a submission that few try and even fewer complete. Yoshiyuki Yoshida’s submission of Jon Koppenhaver was only the fourth successful anaconda choke in UFC history. The UFC did not have a successful anaconda choke for the first 12 years of its existence, until Randy Couture submitted Mike Van Arsdale at UFC 54. Yoshida now joins Couture, Renato “Babalu” Sobral, and Dustin Hazelett in this elite club.

Full TPR Data for UFC 84

In the list below, the first number next to the fighter’s name is his Total Performance Rating (TPR). The second number is the differential between his TPR and his opponent’s TPR. Rating differential is a good measure of how close the fight was.

Full TPR data for the fights on the telecast are included in a Flash presentation below. For more details on the calculation, click the Explanation button at the top right.

Wanderlei Silva: 100, (+100)
Yoshiyuki Yoshida: 100, (+100)
Rousimar Palhares: 100, (+99)
Shane Carwin: 98, (+82)
Thiago Silva: 95, (+54)
BJ Penn: 91, (+66)
Goran Reljic: 84, (+34)
Rameau Sokoudjou: 72, (+59)
Lyoto Machida: 59, (+33)
Wilson Gouveia: 50, (-34)
Antonio Mendes: 41, (-54)
Tito Ortiz: 26, (-33)
Sean Sherk: 26, (-66)
Christian Wellisch: 16, (-82)
Kazuhiro Nakamura: 13, (-59)
Ivan Salaverry: 1, (-99)
Jon Koppenhaver: 0, (-100)
Keith Jardine: 0, (-100)

FightMetric is the world’s first comprehensive MMA statistics and analysis system. Visit FightMetric.com to learn more about the system and for analysis of MMA’s closest bouts.

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Updated Monday, May 26, 2008