Take a deep dive into the key stats of some of the biggest match-ups at UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs Muhammad
(All stats according to UFC’s Record Book and Fight Metric as of March 10, 2021 and only include active athletes in their respective division unless noted otherwise)
Main Event: Leon Edwards vs Belal Muhammad
Key Stats: 8-fight win streak (3rd-longest all-time among WW), 2.05 strikes absorbed per minute (tied-3rd), 15:16 average fight time (tied-3rd)
What It Means: Edwards is a strong and crafty striker with underrated grappling ability that both allows him to control the tempo of the fight as well as open up opportunities for himself in the standup game. When opponents press forward, he meets them head-on and engages in a clinch situation near the open mat rather than against the fence. From there, he is good at finding windows for knees to the body or elbows up top off the break. At range, he is a long striker with smooth boxing and fast kicks.
Key Stats: 4.86 strikes landed per minute, 2.03 takedowns per 15 minutes, 28% takedown accuracy
What It Means: Muhammad is an in-your-face pressure fighter whose well-rounded skill set allows him to implement the kind of pressure that melts opponents. His mixture of wrestling and improved striking forces opponents back against the fence, and his overall durability helps him walk through any return fire he faces. The pace he keeps is grueling, made more so by his dedication to both striking his opponent’s body as well as consistent shooting for takedowns.
What to Look For in the Fight: Muhammad is likely going to press forward for the whole fight. Edwards, however, has shown an ability to stifle that pressure both with rangy striking as well as his own grappling. He is strong in the clinch and punishes defensive lapses. For Muhammad, getting the fight to the ground will likely be the path to victory, but he’ll have to use his improved striking, particularly his boxing, to find himself in advantageous spots.
Co-Main Event: Misha Cirkunov vs Ryan Spann
Key Stats: 6 submission wins (tied-2nd all-time among LHW), 4:09 average fight time (6th shortest all-time among LHW), 4.42 takedowns per 15 minutes
What It Means: Cirkunov is a wicked grappler who is always seeking a submission, and his skill set allows him to search for a variety of fight-ending sequences. He is consistent and insistent in his aim to get the fight to the canvas, and he doesn’t waste any time doing so.
Key Stats: 1.08 knockdowns per 15 minutes (8th), 60% takedown defense, 6:05 average fight time
What It Means: Spann is a powerful, athletic fighter whose ability to use that physicality improves with each fight. In grappling situations, he can often shrug off or win in clinch situations to keep the fight on the feet. He is comfortable along the fence but is best when standing on the outside landing a bevy of strikes.
What to Look For in the Fight: This is your general striker-vs-grappler matchup and a good test for the up-and-coming Spann. Cirkunov is well-versed in these situations and holds a lot of professional experience whereas Spann continues to impress on his way up the light heavyweight ladder. Watch for Spann to search for the big shot early before Cirkunov can get a hold of him. If Spann can thwart those attempts, he should be in for a good night, but playing the ground game against Cirkunov is tricky.
Other Fights to Watch (Dan Ige vs Gavin Tucker)
Remember The Name: Dan Ige
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Remember The Name: Dan Ige
Key Stats: 3.96 strikes landed per minute, 1.69 takedowns per 15 minutes, 3.36 strikes absorbed per minute
What It Means: Ige is a tough, durable fighter equally capable of earning a knockout win as he is grinding out a foe with a wrestling-heavy attack. The Hawaiian often fires looping punches on the feet but isn’t wild with that approach. Rather, he is patient and persistent with his pressure. He mixes his wrestling in well and often does to set up his hands, which carry true knockout power.
Key Stats: 3.0 takedowns per 15 minutes, 42% takedown accuracy, 4.29 strikes absorbed per minute
What It Means: A methodical and technical fighter, Tucker is a well-rounded mixed martial artist who enjoys outclassing his opponents wherever the fight goes. He carries a good chin, allowing him to really focus on his own attack, which often includes more than a few takedowns and grappling exchanges. On the feet, he is a sharp striker and shows solid distance management and tempo.
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What to Look For in the Fight: These two are a pair of well-rounded and experienced fighters on the edges of the Top 15. Ige is probably the more powerful striker, and how he handles Tucker’s technical approach is going to be an interesting thing to watch. Tucker can likely take this fight wherever he wants it to go, in part because that’s how his skill set is and also because Ige is rather comfortable wherever the bout goes as well.