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  • Fábio de Brito

The importance of statistics in sports

Has any fight, match, race ever kept you up at night because you didn't agree or just question the final result?

Well then. Imagine such a situation without the evolution of statistics in sports. For today, living in the absence of elements that value both sport and consumers is highly unfeasible.

Statistics have served as a great foundation for sports analysts who build their work from a database of a given modality. What is achieved, in the end, is a high range of research elements to facilitate a certain research and achieve success in a given project, personal or professional.

The importance of statistics in sports

‘Terror’ for many, numbers are crucial in the development of the world we know today. Statistics, then, emerge as an affluent, being an important tool for understanding, improving and concluding aspects that, before, could seem without solution.

As well as in football or basketball statistics have also proven its potential within mixed martial arts, MMA. Imagine being able to accurately count the number of blows applied, received, takedowns, cage dominance.

Even better, think about gathering all the values recorded over one or many seasons so that you can have a faithful picture of the characteristics of a given athlete. Thus, statistics have been increasingly consolidated as an indispensable tool for conducting various sports.

Understanding ‘controversial decisions’ in UFC fights

MMA, like other sports, is not an exact science and for fights that do not end in knockouts or submissions the official results come from the judges' interpretations. Let's take three UFC 2022 fights.

Taila Santos had the chance and nearly 'shocked the world' against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 275, for the flyweight belt (up to 56.7 kg.). Defeated in a split decision, the Brazilian was superior only in the fourth round in terms of significant blows landed (23 x 16), but showed balance by having a large advantage in ground control between rounds, with five minutes and eight seconds added. She also had an advantage over the Kirghiz in attempts to finish on the ground (2 x 1) and left room for a possible triumph, according to Fight Analytics's data.

Officially, however, only one of the three judges saw Taila win. David Lethaby judged the advantage of the Brazilian in the first three rounds and scored 48-47 in the total sum. Fellow pros Howards Hughes and Clemens Werner saw Valentina 48-47 and 49-46 respectively.

Statistics tells a lot, but not everything

The use of statistics can define a path, but it is not what predominates in the final result. This is because, despite the sampling, the sums and analyzes are made by human beings, who also have different weights in the evaluations. The great example is Gilbert Durinho vs. Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 273.

Without control of one of the parties on the ground, the three-round fight was defined on the feet. The Brazilian even had higher numbers in significant blows (64 to 60) in the total sum, but was at a disadvantage in the same number between rounds (9-22, 38-15, 17-23). He even tried more takedowns, but only the Russian managed to apply them on two occasions.

Besides Durinho x Chimaev, another fight can serves as an example: Sean O'Malley x Petr Yan at UFC 280. The specialized media pointed to the Russian's victory, but Fight Analytics' data can justify the result in favor of the merican, who was superior in the significant strikes in the first and third rounds with similar numbers (32-54 and 33-54, respectively). He was announced as the winner on a split decision by the judges and moved closer to a shot at the bantamweight (under 61.2 kg.) title.


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