I came across a somewhat humorous way of predicting fights in MMA. The method is called MMA math and basically the way it works is you take common opponents and try to form a transitive relationship between the 2 opponents to figure out who will win with no value given to method of victory or how well each fighter performed.
This method clearly has some major flaws:
1. It’s difficult to form relationships-from what I’ve seen, sometimes you end up with 5 or 6 fighters in between. Clearly, the more time and opponents in between, the less relevant information available.
2. If you go far enough, a lot of times the relationship could go either way. We can look at 2013’s Chael Sonnen vs Jon Jones for a good example. Jon Jones lost to Matt Hamill who lost to Michael Bisping who lost to Chael Sonnen => Chael Sonnen will win their fight. Conversely, Chael Sonnen lost to Forrest Griffin lost to Mauricio Rua lost to Jon Jones => Jon Jones will win the fight.
3. Method of victory is not considered. A close decision is equivalent to a dominant submission or KO is equivalent to a disqualification.
There are major holes in this method, but I wouldn’t completely disregard performance against common opponents. In my model, I am purely using math, but if you were trying to pick based on other methods, its something that should be considered. In addition, as evidenced by the frequency of UFC title changes, styles play a huge role in MMA and will continue to play a huge role in the future.
Here are the latest UFC 155 odds: (Less than a week away, my picks will be up around Thursday or Friday)