How All UFC Fights End – May 2013 Edition
It’s one of the least complex statistics in MMA, but still one that’s fascinating in its own right. From time to time I like to refresh my analysis of UFC fights by analyzing each division and how fights end. Especially in lower weight classes where the sample size is smaller, we have yet to see a maturation of those divisions. But overall, some clear trends pop out.
Here’s how every UFC fight has ended from 2007 through April of 2013. Just click the image to enlarge.
The overall finish rate for UFC fights since 2007 is 54%. For most divisions the finish rate ranges from 40-60%, with the tail end divisions being below and above that range.
The clearest trend in MMA is that Size Matters. There’s basic physical and scientific reasons for this which you can read more about here, but the graph demonstrates the trend that bigger fighters finish more fights by knockout or TKO. Submission finishes are a little less consistent, but only in the largest weight classes do they drop off significantly.
What’s also interesting is that when fights go to a decision, about 20-25% of the time the judges will disagree on the outcome. Think about that folks: three expert witnesses watching the same two fighters fight the same fight, and one out of four or five times they will disagree on what they just saw.
For perspective, you may be interested to see how the same chart looked a year ago. At the time (data through the middle of 2012) the Flyweights were still a fairly new edition. By the end of this year I’ll be interested to see if there’s some stabilization of the trends in smaller divisions, as well as adding in the Women’s Bantamweights, who so far have bucked the trend with all those fights being finished early. In the more established UFC divisions, there hasn’t been much change in how fights end since the amount of new data in the last year is a smaller share of the total since 2007. But at least the Bantamweights seem to be stepping up their game, finishing more fights by strikes as well as by submission. What began as the most decision-heavy division has stepped up their finishing instinct and has now finished fights more often than the Flyweights and even the larger Featherweights.