The UFC’s 170lb division is fast becoming one of the most openly competed divisions and it strikes me that the 170lbers have started to take advantage of the openings presented in a bid to get to the top of the pile. It seems to me that since the departure of GSP at the back end of 2013 the 170lbers have been “upping their game” so I am going to be looking at the top 15 Welterweights and breaking down how they have been performing since GSP has stepped aside. Time to put on my Fightnomics hat and dig into the numbers.
The top ranked 15 fighters I will be looking at is listed below and was taken directly from the UFC ranking pages as at 28th July 2014.
Champion: Johny Hendricks
#1: Robbie Lawler
#2: Rory MacDonald
#3: Carlos Condit
#4: Tyron Woodley
#5: Matt Brown
#6: Hector Lombard
#7: Jake Ellenberger
#8: Demian Maia
#9: Tarec Saffiedine
#10: Dong Hyun Kim
#11: Kelvin Gastelum
#12: Gunnar Nelson
#13: Mike Pyle
#14: Ryan LaFlare
#15: Erick Silva
Since GSP’s last fight which was against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 on 16th November 2013 the top fifteen have had a combination of eighteen fights of which 44% have resulted in stoppages. Robbie Lawler has been the most active of the top fifteen having three fights and going 2-1. Eight of the above have only fought once since UFC 167 and of those who have only fought once they have had a 75% win rate. Robbie Lawler, Rory MacDonald, Gunnar Nelson and Ryan LaFlare have been the fighters to win the most all picking up two wins each. Gunnar Nelson has been the only fighter to have fought more than once and finish all of his fights (both by submission). Of the eighteen fights, eight have taken place on PPV and the other ten on Fight Night cards or TUF Finale shows. But the glamour of the show hasn’t had any impact of the finishing rate of the fight with an exact 50% stoppage rate on all shows (4 PPV, 5 Fight Night/TUF Finale).
Nine of the eighteen fights analysed have resulted in the above fighters picking up various forms of the Of The Night awards. Five Fight of the Night awards have been awarded and five Performance of the Night awards handed out. Matt Brown picked up $100,000 in just bonuses in his victory over Erick Silva earning the Ohio native POTN and FOTN. These numbers tell a very convincing story of just how well the 170lbers have been performing, however, there is the finer detail which these stats don’t pick up on. Here is my post GSP Welterweight division highlights;
1. That spinning hellbow! When Dong Hyun Kim and Jon Hathaway locked horns at the TUF China Finale it was almost guaranteed that we could expect fireworks and these two didn’t disappoint. The fight was very back and forth and although Kim was the heavy favourite going in Hathaway certainly held his own. That was until the third round in which Kim delivered a devastating spinning elbow which knocked Hathaway into tomorrow and ended the fight in devastating fashion. Let’s hope it doesn’t get overlooked at the end of the year for KOTY!
2. Matt Brown’s love of violence! Brown got beaten at the weekend by number 1 ranked Robbie Lawler but his recent resurgence in the division has been a joy to watch. It’s almost a certainty that if he is involved in a fight then it will be a candidate for FOTN before its even started. In his last four fights he has won FOTN three times and also POTN and KOTN. That just speaks for itself!
3. The silent assassin! I have followed Gunnar Nelsons career for a few years now since his days fighting with BAMMA so have always had an admiration for his skill set but since finding a home at the UFC the Icelandic superstar has come into his own. Three submission wins in his four UFC fights and two POTN awards show just how deadly he is and a step up in opponent next time will certainly help cement his top contender status.
An overall 44% stoppage rate between the top fifteen definitely shows that the Welterweights at the upper echelon of the division are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel and possibly looking to rumble Hendricks stay as King. Whenever a new divisional champion is crowned there is a big question as to whether or not he/she can stick around and prove their worth as champion. And while it appears that Robbie Lawler will get his second shot at Hendricks there is certainly enough hungry sharks waiting to pounce should that fight not happen. Whether or not GSP stepping aside has really had a true impact on how the Welterweights are performing I suppose we will never know, but just having a quick look at the stats shows that these guys are intent on trying to finish fights where possible and get their name etched in the minds of those who matter.
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