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How Analytics Made Me A Better MMA Fan

How Analytics Made Me A Better MMA Fan

Joey Tan - March 13, 2017
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Hi MMA obsessees, I’m Joey, FightGeek’s newest Rookie Journalist! For those who read my previous article, you’ll know that I have limited knowledge about MMA before joining FightGeek.

While watching MMA matches for research,

(and pleasure, because let’s face it, all these fighters are ripped!)

it was actually frustrating not being able to catch a lot of details and little nuances happening that dictates performances and the results of fights. MMA fights are notoriously short and incredibly fast. And my lack of knowledge about martial arts led to a rather superficial appreciation of the action that takes place inside the cage. Especially in close fought matches, I find myself not understanding why certain fighters were declared winners and how it was decided by the judges…

Enter MMA Analytics. FightGeek provides a comprehensive hoard of play-by-play data for matches, carefully curated through slow-motion reviews of the action to offer details on both Offence and Defence for each round and the entire match. When I recently spoke with my fellow colleague who does data mining, I was shocked to learn that the most number of strikes he has ever recorded in a mere 2 seconds was an 8 strike combo! It became clear to me why I was missing a chunk of the action, because strikes like these are often too fast for the untrained eye. Which is why analytics are so useful for the average MMA fan. Soon, you’ll get to see statistics of each fight and the historical data of every fighter on our site, CageReport.Asia! Let the data talk for you when assessing your favourite athletes against their opponents pre-fight.

Let’s break it down with a recent example. Back in February, we saw ONE Championship 52: Throne of Tigers in KL where Ev Ting went against Kamal Shalorus. When watching all 3 rounds, it seemed to me like Kamal would edge out slightly to steal the match, but Ev Ting came out the overall winner. Even the event commentators thought the same as me and for some, it may have been a real puzzle. But the statistics made the match’s outcome crystal clear.

Photo Credits: Onefc.com
Photo Credits: Onefc.com

Here are the striking statistics of the overall match:
Ev Ting:
Total Strikes Attempted  –  176
Total Strikes Landed  –  88
Optimal Hits (damaging)  –  28 of 88
Striking Accuracy  –  50%
Optimal Hit Rate  –  32%

Kamal Shalorus:
Total Strikes Attempted  –  155
Total Strikes Landed  –  63
Optimal Hits (damaging)  –  23 of 63
Striking Accuracy  –  41%
Optimal Hit Rate  –  37%

via GIPHY

With such in-depth statistics, I could better understand how the judges came to a split decision. Kamal Shalorus was the heavier hitter, as reflected in the slightly higher Optimal Hit Rate, which made it seemed to me like he was the more accurate and damaging striker. But Ev Ting threw more and landed more strikes throughout the fight, making the results comprehensible to me now! The data also helped me to appreciate and understand each fighter’s success from a technical standpoint. I got to see how accurate a fighter was, which provided insight as to the depth of split-second forethought that went into each strike and the defence against it.

I’m looking forward to bringing my newly minted knowledge on MMA Analytics to Impact Arena, Bangkok on 11 March!

one_warrior_kingdom

Watch this space for my Vlog documenting my first ever MMA fight coverage, as well as the results of the matches at ONE: Warrior Kingdom!

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Joey Tan

Joey Tan is a rookie MMA journalist and is a contributor for FightGeek.Asia

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2 Comments

  1. Wallace Tan

    Hi Joey, welcome to the MMA world. I like your article. Full of infor. CageReport site is not accessible…is it not ready?
    I have my own blog, warriorsofbormeo.blogspot.com non profit, just out of passion. Been doing this more than a year.
    Where r u base at?

    1. Joey Tan

      Hi Wallace, thank you for the warm welcome! I’m excited to immerse myself deeper into the MMA World as time goes by.

      Currently, CageReport is still in development, but the prototype will be launched soon. Watch our website for up-to-date news of its launch!

      Your blog, warriorsofborneo.blogspot.com, is really great. I especially loved the in-depth coverage of the ONE: Warrior Kingdom event and the focus on Sabah Malaysia’s representatives Kelvin ‘Ice Man’ Ong and Audreylaura ‘Ice Comet’ Boniface. Having watched their matches during the event itself on 11 March, I must applaud them for their amazing fight and grit, and am very honoured that I had the chance to watch the two live in action.

      FightGeek Asia is currently based in Singapore 🙂 Do hit us up if you’re ever visiting our sunny island! We would love to meet a fellow MMA fanatic.

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