UFC 193 Main Card Analysis – Hunt v Silva 2

In the leadup to UFC 193 I will analyse the main card matchups, before weighing in with some good old fashioned prognostication.

I will do this by analysing the career records and statistics of each fighter in order to understand their relative strengths and weaknesses, and use this insight to ultimately pick a winner.

This is the third article covering the main card matchups for UFC 193. The first article, covering the Struve v Rosholt fight, can be found here.

The second article, covering the Hall v Whittaker fight, can be found here.

UFC 193 Main Card – Fight 3 – Mark Hunt (8) v Antonio Silva (11)

From my very first live fight I understood – there is something special about the heavyweight division. Television doesn’t do it any kind of justice – two sometimes overweight men throwing massive punches at each other till they gas. It is when you are sitting cage/ringside and you can literally feel the impact of the blows reverberating through the floor that the reality starts sinking in. Heavy bodies throw heavy heavy strikes.

Hunt v Silva 1 was a heavyweight classic. Even though I wasn’t in sunny Brisbane for UFC Fight Night 33, I did watch the fight later on Fight Pass (seriously, if you are a fan of the history of MMA do yourself a favour). Just, wow. Knockdowns for both men. Haymakers interspersed with well versed and canny striking. Both men were exhausted but never stopped trying to destroy each other. After five brutal rounds it was declared a popular draw.

For interest, take a look at the statistics from the first fight, courtesy of Fightmetric.

The impact of the fight was immediate – Dana White gushed, fans and pundits alike exclaimed it as the greatest fight in Heavyweight history. Even after all this time, and just rewatching the fight, it is very hard to argue that point.

Then Silva tested positive for elevated testosterone and the spell was broken.

But the story doesn’t end there. Antonio “Big Foot” Silva didn’t get his nickname by accident. He suffers visibly from a disorder known as Gigantism. This is a disorder which impedes the natural production of testosterone – and in a sport rife at the time with the overuse and abuse of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) – Antonio Silva was probably its only legitimate user. Unfortunately his doctors (maybe?) made a dosing error on fight week and here we are.

After this epic, both men went through some career ups and downs, but still maintain their place in the middle of the UFC Heavyweight rankings. While this fight will put neither man directly into title contention, it will certainly be a significant step in the right direction. Adding spice is the fact that at age 41 (Hunt) and 36 (Silva) a defeat is a major step toward retirement. Both men believe that another run at the UFC title is possible prior to retirement and will be desperate to win.

The Careers!

With this segment I try to understand the strength of each fighter’s career. To understand the relative strengths of both fighters I first take a look at their career records, followed by an attempt at judging the value of their records. A fighter’s record may be impressively laden with victories, but if they have merely been knocking over tomato cans, what is it worth?

First up, let’s take a look at their general career figures. While a direct comparison of their overall career figures gives Silva a big apparent advantage, looking at their results in Major Fights gives a much more balanced view. Key point to note, even though the official UFC website claims Hunt has nine defeats, on his page it actually displays all ten. Good work UFC.

Mark Hunt Antonio Silva
Win 10 19
Loss 10 7
Draw 1 1
Major
Win 10 11
Loss 10 7
Draw 1 1

 

As an elite K1 kickboxing world champion, Hunt had too much pride on the line to begin a new combat sport against the lesser lights. He has never ducked a fight against anyone and has only fought in the biggest organisations, or against the very best fighters, or both. Debuting against Hidehiko Yoshida (the 1992 Olympic Heavyweight Judo gold medallist) in his MMA debut in 2004 was a creditable example of his fight anyone spirit. This was after Yoshida proved his grappling chops in a drawn duel with then Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) deity, Royce Gracie.

According to this incredibly detailed yet unsourced imdb biography (because IMDB for a UFC fighter bio…sure…) Silva also got his start in the striking game – practicing karate for 13 years before making the move to BJJ. Having seen some examples of ‘no windup’ kicking in his UFC career I can say that this is at least plausible.

What isn’t up for debate for either man is their love of a conclusive finish – in 48 combined career fights, they have seen the judges only 8 times – or only 17%. Looking at their method of victory or defeat only in major fights raises a number of points.

Mark Hunt Antonio Silva
Win Loss Draw Win Loss Draw
T/KO 7 4  0 8 6 0
Submission 0 6  0 1 0 0
Decision 3 0  1 2 1 1
Total 10 10  1 11 7 1

 

For a hardnosed and decorated kickboxer, who is unafraid to mix it up with the world’s best grapplers, it is unsurprising that Hunt has such a high number of defeats by submission. On the same token, for a BJJ black belt like Silva there is a shocking dearth of submission victories against top quality opponents. Taking a look at the timing of these paints an interesting picture – Hunt hasn’t been submitted by anyone since 2010, and Silva hasn’t pulled off a submission against anyone since 2009. Have they passed each other on the grappler/kickboxer highway?

Taking a look at the combined records of their opponents (before they fought), the relative quality of their career figures comes into focus.

Mark Hunt Antonio Silva
Overall
Wins 387 366
Losses 99 104
Win % 80% 78%
Avg Fights 23.8 17.9
Major
Wins 194 176
Losses 79 89
Win % 71% 66%
Avg Fights 13.4 10.2

While overall, the career records of their opponents look very similar, looking at their major fight records and their general fight experience tips the scales (no pun intended) in favour of Hunt.

Comparing the career records of fighters they have defeated vs those who have defeated them can also be a useful indicator of career quality. For the purposes of fair comparison, the figures below only relate to Silva’s major fight experience.

Mark Hunt Antonio Silva
Victory
Wins 193 220
Losses 62 58
Win % 76% 79%
Defeat
Wins 176 85
Losses 32 26
Win % 85% 77%

As you might expect, the win percentage (and one could argue quality) of those opponents who have beaten Hunt is higher than that of those he has defeated. It gets a little weird when looking at Silva, as the quality of fighters who defeated him looks worse that those who he has beaten. This however can be explained by his recent losses against Andrei Arlovski (25 Wins, 10 Losses) and Frank Mir (18, 10), ex UFC Heavyweight champions who had long and well documented career valleys before staging comebacks.

Their Fights!

With the analysis of their careers finished, let’s take a look at their fight statistics and see what they tell us. Oddly for Fightmetric, Hunt’s entire career has been recorded. In my previous analysis only UFC statistics have been loaded. Similarly for Silva, his entire UFC/Strikeforce/EliteXC career is recorded, giving me a greater sample size with which to work.

With this segment I attempt to identify the specific approach taken by each combatant. MMA is an exciting sport, allowing for many different skill sets. Ultimately, I am attempting to uncover each fighter’s strengths and weaknesses in order to pick a winner.

As every fight begins on its feet, so will my analysis. Let’s first take a look at their offensive stats.

Mark Hunt Antonio Silva
Attack
Sig Strike 680 387
Sig Acc % 44% 46%
Total Acc % 52% 55%
Sig of Total % 78% 72%
KDs 11 8
Standing % 81% 63%
Clinch % 5% 25%
SLPM 3.24 2.9

 

While both fighters have similar accuracy and knockdown figures, the key differences are in the sheer weight of strikes by Hunt and the variety thrown by Silva. Coming from a traditional kickboxing background, Hunt prefers to throw his strikes at fighting range where he can use volume to open up holes in defence. Silva prefers to close the range and use his size to initiate a clinch battle.

These differences can also be seen in their defensive statistics.

Mark Hunt Antonio Silva
Defence
Sig Strike 572 391
Sig Acc % 53% 52%
Total Acc % 39% 38%
Sig of Total % 62% 63%
KDs 5 7
SAPM 2.73 2.93

Here Hunt’s world class kickboxing credentials become apparent. He hits more than he gets hit (3.24 v 2.73 strikes per minute) and he also will be more likely to knock you down than be knocked down himself. On the flip side, Silva actually takes more hits per minute than he delivers, even with a defensive success rate over halfway. This suggests a counter fighting strategy that involves getting hit in order to make a hit – a dangerous proposition in the lead fisted heavyweight division. This is born out by his knockdown figures – he nearly gets knocked down once for every knockdown he delivers.

The defensive statistics also identify that both men are adept at making their opponents fight their way. Even though they both throw upwards of 70% significant strikes, they make their opponents vary their striking with just over 60% significant strikes attempted against them.

Mark Hunt has a small but clear advantage in the striking department.

With much made of Hunt’s many career losses by submission, the supposition could easily be made that he doesn’t have any grappling credentials. Likewise, giving his BJJ black belt and lineage you would expect Silva to have the advantage when comparing grappling statistics. Not quite.

Mark Hunt Antonio Silva
Attack
TD 10 8
TD Att 18 25
TD% 56% 32%
Sub Att 4 8
Pass 18 21
Rev 2 1
% Ground 11% 13%

Since moving to grappling focussed American Top Team, Hunt’s grappling has shown some startling improvement. He has actually managed to successfully take his opponent down more often than Silva, at a higher success rate. Once on the ground, however, Silva’s black belt shows in his slight activity advantage – with double the submission attempts and half the number of top position reversals. Still, for ‘just a kickboxer’ the fact that their grappling statistics are at all comparable is remarkable.

Comparison of their defensive statistics also makes for a robust picture.

Mark Hunt Antonio Silva
Defence
TD 22 10
TD Att 71 29
TD% 69% 66%
Sub Att 15 3
Pass 31 15
Rev 3 2

Opponents have attempted to take Hunt down far more frequently than Silva. This can be explained by a number of factors – for starters you probably don’t want to be trading strikes with a heavyweight kickboxing world champion, especially if you are adept at submissions – Hunt’s aforementioned weakness. A career takedown defence record of 69% is no joke, and with a UFC only takedown defence percentage of 73.8, it actually places Hunt 3rd of all active heavyweights. His ability to defend himself from submission attempts is also improving, the 15 careers attempts only producing 6 submission losses, while in the UFC only 3 submissions have been attempted against him for 1 success.

Neither man is particularly adept at controlling their opponents while on the ground with Hunt’s guard being passed 31 times of the 32 times he has been on the ground. Silva is not much better with 15 of 18.

Hunt’s statistics show greatly improved wrestling, with good takedown performance and not allowing himself to be in submission friendly positions. Silva has decent wrestling performance, but on the ground he is all about the submissions.

While Antonio Silva has the better grappling statistics, Hunt is not far behind.

 

In Summation!

This fight is incredibly hard to call – not least because they have already fought to a draw. They are roughly evenly matched statistically both in terms of their career strength and fight performance.

While Mark Hunt takes a small advantage in overall terms his age and the fact he is coming off two losses could either be a blessing or a curse

Antonio Silva, while coming off a win against Hunt’s countryman Soa Palelei, has been without his required TRT for a nearly two years and his record in this time is 1 win for 2 losses.

Will Hunt be able to keep the distance and pick his opponent apart? Or will Silva be able to take thee fight into the clinch or pull off a submission on the floor?

I personally believe that Hunt will be the fresher of the two men with TRT out of the equation. Even though much has been made of his cardio, his UFC total significant strikes landed figure of 327 (8th in the division), married to his long average fight time of 11:25 (3rd) suggest that his cardio might not actually be that bad.

Verdict – Mark Hunt via KO, Round 2

References!

** This one should be fun, major MMA promotions are defined as being one of the following –

  • WSOF
  • Jungle Fight
  • World Extreme Fighting
  • M1
  • Cage Rage
  • UFC
  • Deep
  • Pancrase
  • Shooto Japan
  • Bodog
  • IFC
  • Elite XC/Pro Elite
  • Bellator
  • WEC
  • Strikeforce
  • Pride
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Published by

James

Easing into my mid 30's, writing just crept up on me. I had to put something out there - no matter what. So here we are! I live in Canberra, Australia and work in statistical IT systems development and support and am a proud father of two

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