UFC 193 Main Card Analysis – Jedrzejczyk v Letourneau

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

What I do is take a look at all of the available statistics on both fighters, from the records of their career opponents to their in cage performances, to try and work out their relative strengths and weaknesses.

With this analysis I hope to look beyond the hype of each fighter to determine what they might do come fight night, and who might win.

This is the fourth and penultimate article on the main card matchups for UFC 193.

For Mark Hunt v Antonio Silva 2 go here

For Uriah Hall v Robert Whittaker go here

For Stefan Struve v Jared Rosholt go here

UFC 193 Main Card – Fight 4 – Joanna Jedrzejczyk (Champion) v Valerie Letourneau (9)

After a glittering career in Muay Thai, which yielded no less than 6 world titles, Joanna Jedrzejczyk embarked on an MMA career a little over three years ago. Overlooked for the ground breaking female only season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter  (in which the UFC bought almost the entire Invicta strawweight roster to create the new division) Jedrzejczyk made her way into the Octagon the old fashioned way – defeating all comers in her native Europe.
For an in depth look at her prior to winning her UFC championship see this great piece by The Independent.

Canadian Letourneau also managed to miss out on the TUF household, losing her entry fight to Roxanne Modafferi. This setback has proven to be minor, winning all of her fights since making it to the UFC to set up the championship showdown, albeit two weight divisions down from her accustomed Bantamweight.

Originally rumoured to be rematching the number one ranked Claudia Gadelha before she broke her finger, Letourneau’s selection was somewhat a surprise, coming in at ninth on the UFC Strawweight rankings.

Their Careers!

Let’s take a look at their career Win/Loss records –

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Valerie Letourneau
Win 10 8
Loss 0 3
Fights per Year 3.3 1.4

While Letourneau has the advantage of career length (8 years to Jedrzejczyk’s 3), they have both competed in roughly the same number of contests. For the undefeated Polish fighter this mirrors closely her prodigious output as a kickboxer. According to this article, before making her MMA debut she had amassed over 60 fights over the course of her 10 year kick boxing career. Giving that would have made her 15 at the time of her debut, those figures seem a little dubious, but regardless – she has seen plenty of action in her career.

While Letourneau does have 3 career losses, those were all against fighters who have either held major world titles (Sarah Kaufman, Strikeforce), fought for UFC titles (Alexis Davis, Kaufman) or were considered elite (Claudia Gadelha, who fought Latourneau to a split win and Jedrzejczyk to a split loss). Also worthy of note, her Kaufman and Davis fights were two of her first three fights. Everyone else must have seemed so easy after that.

This edge on overall fight experience might merely reflect the dearth of female fight opportunities in North America compared with Europe, as the discrepancy in experience shows much more clearly when looking at the career MMA records of their respective opponents on fight night.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Valerie Letourneau
WIN
Wins 75 15
Losses 20 9
Other 2 1
LOSS
Wins 0 13
Losses 0 1
Total fight AVG 9.7 3.55

The gulf widens dramatically when looking at major fight*** experience –

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Valerie Letourneau
Wins 23 2
Losses 14 6
Major fight AVG 3.7 0.7

Letourneau’s opponents have had less than 1 major fight each on average, and not a very positive one at that, with a win percentage of 25%, compared to 3.7 and 62% respectively for Jedrzejczyk.

All things told, while the quality of some of Jedrzejczyk’s opponents might not be as high as for Letourneau, the general depth of experience (not to mention success while there) brings the career experience factor well onto the Polish fighter’s side.

Their Fights!  

Just a note to begin, usually I like to include Fightmetric statistical top tens in this segment, where appropriate. Unfortunately, there while Fightmetric has all the statistics available to them, and they have top tens for all of the men’s weight divisions, there is nothing for women at all outside of the merged lists. Shame on you Fightmetric! Gripe over.

In this segment I like to analyse what both of the fighters like to do in the cage, and how good they are at doing it. I use the official UFC statistics provided by Fightmetric and information directly gleaned from the respective fighters official UFC fighter pages.

As all fights start on their feet – so does my analysis. Let’s have a look at their offensive striking stats.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Valerie Letourneau
Attack
Sig Acc 44% 39%
% Sig of Total 90% 89%
Total Acc 48% 43%
KDs 1 1
% Standing 69% 69%
SLPM 4.9 4.69

Both fighters could be identical, with both fighters showing a very high proportion of significant strikes to total strikes, a high significant strikes landed per minute rate over 4.5 and a relatively high proportion of standing strikes indicate that both women like to fight on their feet.

Even as their chosen approaches appear, the Polish fighter takes out a slender advantage in all comparable areas.

The differences between each fighter is more apparent when looking at their defensive statistics.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Valerie Letourneau
Defence
Sig Acc 71% 69%
Total Acc 59% 65%
% Sig of Total 80% 92%
KDs 0 0
SAPM 1.38 3.73

While their defence against significant strikes is both relatively high (anything over 50% is good in my book), Jedrzejczyk shows and improved ability to make her opponents pick their shots – with a marked reduction in the proportion of significant strikes thrown to total compared to Letourneau.

Backing this up is the fact that the Polish fighter absorbs 1/3rd the number of significant strikes per minute the Canadian does.

While it shouldn’t be surprising that a multiple time kickboxing world champion like Jedrzejczyk has the statistical advantage in striking over any opponent, what is surprising is how close Letourneau is – especially in offensive output.

Now that the statistics have identified an area of superiority for Jedrzejczyk, can Letourneau use her Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt to turn the fight to her advantage on the ground? Just because offence is much more fun to me, let’s look at that first.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Valerie Letourneau
Grappling Att
TD 0 3
TD Att 0 5
Sub Att 0 2
Pass 0 5
Rev 0 1
% Ground 5.32% 1.89%

What is amazing here is the total lack of offensive output from the Champion. She has never attempted to take anyone down, and once down, she has never completed a guard pass or position reversal, let alone a submission attempt. An interesting point of note, Jedrzejczyk has a significantly higher percentage of strikes on the ground than Letourneau.

The Challenger has at least a successful takedown success rate of 60%, and once on the ground has shown proficiency in setting up position by utilising reversals and passes to set up submission attempts. The last (and first) time she successfully pulled off a submission was back in 2009, an armbar against Kate Roy, immediately after her run against Kaufman and Davis.

Jedrzejczyk actually has a more recent submission, a 2012 rear naked choke against Liliya Kazak.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Valerie Letourneau
Grappling Def
TD 9 1
TD Att 58 8
TD% 84% 88%
Sub Att 1 1
Pass 3 2
Rev 0 1

In defence, both women show a high proficiency in defending takedowns, though the sheer weight of takedown attempts on Jedrzejczyk tends to both highlight her skills in that department while also indicating the strength of her stand up.

Both fighters have only allowed themselves to be placed in an unsuccessful submission attempt once while both fighters seem adept at maintaining their guard.

As expected, Letourneau does hold a slim advantage in the grappling stakes, yet it is very clear from looking at the totality of their fight statistics that neither of them prefer to take the fight to the floor.

 

In Summation!

Both fighters like to stand up and trade, and in this game you cannot bet against the World Champion Muay Thai kickboxer. I believe that Letourneau will be beaten standing and will try to take the fight to the floor. The increasingly desperate takedown attempts will leave her open to even more strikes, and even if she does pull one off, the Polish fighter is adept at not getting into positions where she can be submitted.

Result – Joanna Jedrzejczyk retains her belt via TKO, round 3.

References!

***Major fights are defined (arbitrarily) as being against either a top notch competitor or in a top notch organisation as listed –

UFC
Strikeforce
Invicta
Bodog
ShoXC/EliteXC/ProElite
Deep
Bellator
IFL
Dream
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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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