The debate continues over who won the UFC 167 main event between welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and No. 1 contender Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks.
As the official statistics provider to the UFC, FightMetric has all the numbers on who did what in last Saturday’s showdown in Las Vegas. But it is not about to step into the victory debate.
The judges awarded St-Pierre a split (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) decision, meaning two of the three gave him three of the five rounds while the dissenting judge awarded Hendricks three rounds.
FightMetric’s Effectiveness Score, used to crunch the numbers of key fights, has Hendricks holding a narrow 364-315 edge overall.
The Effectiveness Score is generated by an algorithm that takes the raw data from a fight and interprets it based on what has worked in previous bouts.
“Who deployed effective techniques better,” FightMetric director Rami Genauer said.
Points are assigned to various techniques. For example, a power strike to the head is worth more than a non-power leg kick.
While stressing he is not in the fight judging business, Genauer terms the GSP-Hendricks showdown a close contest that saw Hendricks the more effective fighter.
“I don’t think that there’s any reason to think this was enormous robbery. We can show you other fight that are not even close – that a fighter who got the decision was nowhere near his opponent in terms of effectiveness. You wonder what the judges were looking at sometimes. But this was not one of those fights.
“Even though St-Pierre has the lower score in the first round, which is the one that makes the difference, it’s not by so much that you couldn’t make the argument for why he couldn’t have won that round based on the fact that he had the only submission attempt, based on the fact that they each had a takedown. So it’s not something to get bent out of shape about, I think.”
Looking at the Effectiveness Score numbers, Hendricks was more effective in rounds one, two and four with GSP holding the edge in three and five. Round four has the largest gap between the two fighters, with Hendricks leading 74-39.
Round three was the closest, using the Effectiveness Score numbers, with St-Pierre ahead 91-81.
“It shows in general that the fight was closely contested,” Genauer said. “When you have one fighter that blows the other one of the water, you’re going to see differences of 50-60 points per round and then over the course of the fight it’s going to add up to hundreds.
“Our website has many many examples of these. You can see what a truly decisive victory is.”
For example, it was 464-154 for St-Pierre over Nick Diaz at UFC 158.
Genauer is quick to point out that the Effectiveness Score does not replicate the current judging system and its criteria.
“So it’s not like you could say that the judges were either right or wrong based on the number that the Effective Score calculates,” Genauer said from Washington, D.C. “It’s an alternative way of looking at the fight to ask the question who is more effective based on what is statistically proven to work in the past.”
The judges assigned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission scored the bout by evaluating mixed martial arts techniques “ such as effective striking, effective grappling, control of the ring/fighting area, effective aggressiveness and defence.”
The winner of each round gets 10 points, with the loser getting nine or less. Rounds usually are scored 10-9 unless they are particularly lopsided.
Judges Sal D’Amato and Tony Weeks scored rounds one, three and five for St-Pierre on Saturday in Las Vegas. Glenn Trowbridge scored the first, second and fourth for Hendricks.
UFC president Dana White, irate at the decision for GSP, gave all but round three to Hendricks.
St-Pierre held a 101-85 edge in significant strikes over the five rounds, according to FightMetric. And GSP held the edge in rounds one (19-18), three (31-15) and five (9-4) while Hendricks led in rounds two (30-28) and four (18-4).
Hendricks, however, led 142-125 in total strikes, Drilling down into the FightMetric numbers also offers some insight into why St-Pierre showed far more facial damage than Hendricks.
The challenger landed 32 power shots to the head (out of 89 attempts) while GSP was good on 17 of 67 such shots.
“When people say that St-Pierre may have landed more but Hendricks landed better, I think that’s probably what they’re referring to,” Genauer said.
The champion was good on three of six takedown attempts while Hendricks landed two of four.