The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale–Behind the Numbers
On Saturday, December 3rd, The Ultimate Fighter 24 finale took place at the Palms Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. This season was unique, as Ultimate Fighter winner Tim Elliott was granted a shot at the UFC Flyweight championship. Along with the main event, there were several interesting fights on the card. Let us go behind the numbers.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Tim Elliott
Coming into his fight against Tim Elliott, Demetrious Johnson defended his UFC Flyweight title eight times. He is currently ranked as the #1 pound for pound fighter in the world. When it was announced that Tim Elliott would be challenging Demetrious Johnson, not many gave him a chance, as 92% of the Verdict platform predicted that Johnson would defeat Elliott. Demetrious Johnson went on to defeat Tim Elliott by unanimous decision.
Tim Elliott had Demetrious Johnson in several near-submissions in the first round. At one point, Johnson was locked in a D’Arce choke and had to give referee Herb Dean a thumbs up to show him he was fine. Demetrious Johnson made adjustments after the first round, and went on to win the remaining rounds. The scorecards of the ringside judges mirrored Verdict’s global scorecard.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Henry Cejudo
During the 1st round of this contest, referee Yves Lavigne deducted a point from Henry Cejudo following two groin kicks. Even if Cejudo won the round, the most he would get on a scorecard for the first round was a 9. There could have been confusion when scoring the 1st round because of the point deduction. In the future, Verdict will be adding additional hints on how to score point-deducted rounds as well as visual features for indicating points lost.
Jorge Masvidal vs. Jake Ellenberger
After an exciting showcase by Jorge Masvidal, his fight with Jake Ellenberger ended in anti-climatic fashion. Jake Ellenberger’s toe was jammed under the fence, leaving him trapped on the canvas. Masvidal swarmed in for the finish, but referee Herb Dean stopped the action. Initially, it was unclear how the fight would be ruled, but Herb Dean declared that it was a TKO win for Jorge Masvidal. Only 3% of the Verdict platform predicted that Masvidal would finish Ellenberger by TKO in the 1st round.
Jared Cannonier vs. Ion Cutelaba
Jared Cannonier gained a lot of fans for his performance against Ion Cutelaba. The ringside judges scorecards were identical to Verdict’s global scorecard, 29–28 in favor of Ion Cutelaba.
Sara McMann vs. Alexis Davis
Before Sara McMann submitted Alexis Davis in the 2nd round, both fighters had an interesting 1st round. One of the criteria for judging is “Octagon control”, which means a fighter is dictating the pace and position of the fight. Normally, judges award fighters that secure takedowns and control the fight from top position. However, there are some fighters that can defend very well from their backs and can do more damage than the person on top. Sara McMann secured a takedown against Alexis Davis early in round one, and was on top of her for nearly four minutes. However, Alexis Davis was very active from her back and landed more significant strikes from the bottom than Sara McMann did from the top. So who do you score that round for? The fighter that maintained top control for nearly four minutes of the round? Or the fighter that did more damage from the bottom?
The majority of users scored the 1st round for Sara McMann, but it was very close. This data shows that individuals are starting to recognize and award fighters that do damage from the bottom.
Brandon Moreno vs. Ryan Benoit
Brandon Moreno vs. Ryan Benoit was the opening bout on the main card. This contest went to a decision, where Moreno won by split decision.
Interestingly, Judge Rick Winter scored the bout in favor of Ryan Benoit, whereas the global Verdict scorecard had the bout 30–27 in favor of Brandon Moreno.
MMA Journalist Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) finished 1st place in the global leaderboard for the Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale.
Chamatkar Sandhu predicted 5/6 fights correctly and 4/6 terms correctly.
This weekend, the UFC holds two back to back events. On December 9th, the UFC returns to the State of New York for UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Abdurakhimov. The following night, UFC 206 takes place in Toronto, Canada with a card headlined by an interim Featherweight title fight between Max “Blessed” Holloway and Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. Be sure to place your picks on Verdict!