The Diamond vs The Notorious: The Trilogy
UFC 264 has an impressive card and a fight the whole world is waiting. After evening the score against Conor McGregor back in January, Dustin Poirier will step into the octagon on July 10th as a favorite to win. There has been a lot of discussion around this fight and so we pulled advanced stats from ufcstats.com to squeeze out some additional insights.
All stats below and in the charts refer to data from the two opponents’ UFC fights. I hope you enjoy our stats preview!
Strike First Strike Hard
Not surprisingly, the Irishman averages more strikes landed per minute. His 52% striking accuracy gives his opponents 7.16 painful strikes per minute. The Diamond on the other had has 51% striking accuracy leading to 6.36 strikes landed per minute. Conor’s aggressive gameplan also leads to him receiving more strikes per minute than Poirier, 4.65 and 4.25 respectively. McGregor defends with 58% success while Poirier defends with 56%.
Having won most of their matches, both Poirier and McGregor have faced opponents that give it all they got during the final two rounds. The graph below shows that since the opponents (dotted lines) increase their attacks to the body as the fight progresses. However, note that only one of McGregor’s fights has gone into the 5th round, his win against Nate Diaz. Only one fight ended in the 4th round, his bought vs Khabib.
Dustin Poirier seems to be quite efficient in striking during the first two rounds, slowing down during the 3rd and 4th rounds. McGregor is consistently aggressive throughout his fights, though most of them have ended within the first two rounds.
“We fall, but we get up because the ground is no place for a champion”
The Louisiana Diamond is great on the ground. His takedown and submission rates show this, since he gets 1.49 takedowns and 1.25 submissions per 15 minutes. 25% of his takedowns are successful, while his opponents have only 20% success.
A few things stand out when looking at the average takedowns and ground attempts. Conor, what is that huge spike in round 2 opponent ground strikes? Well, that’s Khabib! 36 of 51 ground strikes were landed in that round – WOW!
The other thing that stands out is that Poirier’s takedown attempts increase in round 3 and 4. This makes sense as we saw previously that his strike attempts decrease after 2 attacking rounds.
Tap, Snap, or Nap
We know that Conor McGregor does not focus on his ground offense much. We do see though that his knockdowns come in the first two rounds.
On the other hand, Poirier‘s strategy of aggressive striking to start off his fights brings him more knockdowns in the first round. His submission attempts shoot up in round 4.
What to Expect
Despite training in martial arts for the past 10 years, I am not an MMA expert. Based on my discussions with MMA coaches and fans, as well as some articles I have come across, this fight really is a mystery. It really depends on the work Conor has put in.
Poirier is expected to take the fight into the later rounds and finish Conor off slowly. Round 1 will be aggressive but conservative, aimed at chipping off the Irishman’s stamina. He will likely focus on calf kicks, which proved to be Conor’s weakness in the previous fight.
McGregor is expected to change his style back to his karate-focused striking. His boxing focus in his latest fights did not pay off as expected. We may even see an early knockout! He is likely to keep a safer distance from the Diamond to save his legs from the low kicks.