Lineker versus Dillashaw will keep statisticians busy

Lineker versus Dillashaw pre-fight stats
<> in their flyweight bout during the UFC 183 event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on January 31, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

T.J. Dillashaw and John Lineker are set to go toe-to-toe on Friday night at UFC 207. They are part of a card filled with several noteworthy bouts, including title fights for the ladies and gents in the bantamweight divisions. However, the scrap between these two men could be defined as must-see TV. Because this one could end up being a statistician’s nightmare, and a fight-fans dream.

In MMA, fans must often look to the divisions below welterweight to find bouts with the kind of pace that could make a Diaz brother swoon. Without a doubt, many of the men fighting at lightweight, featherweight, bantamweight and flyweight, make their money on volume striking. But there are some that can tally up those strike attempts more than others.

Lineker versus Dillashaw will keep statisticians busy

T.J. Dillashaw, and John Lineker, have both made a name for themselves as fighters who have serious thump behind their strikes (especially Lineker). Though, what is far less appreciated about their standing attack, is their willingness to let loose at a higher than normal clip.

The good people at Fightmetric have had the difficult task of trying to keep pace with these Tasmanian devils, during their stints inside the UFC. And the stats on them show some remarkable things.

In the pairs previous five bouts, they have thrown more significant strikes than all of their their opponents. And in some cases, doubling their opposites output. In his last five fights, Lineker has thrown 741 strikes. With an average of 57 strikes per round. His opponents in those match-ups–John Dodson, Michael McDonald, Rob Font, Francisco Rivera and Ian McCall–threw a total of 463 strikes. With an average of 35.6 attempts, in the 13 rounds they were caged up with “Hands of Stone.”

In his last five fights, Lineker has thrown 741 strikes.

These are not opponents that you would consider cheap with their striking attempts. Especially the magical Mr. Dodson. As for his opponent on Friday night–the former UFC bantamweight champion of the world–Dillashaw takes high output to the next level.

LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 09: (R-L) TJ Dillashaw punches Raphael Assuncao of Brazil in their bantamweight bout during the UFC 200 event on July 9, 2016 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The Duane Ludwig disciple has thrown 1,578 strikes in his last five fights. Now before you say it, yes, Dillashaw has had a lot more rounds to throw punches and kicks in than Lineker. He tussled with his opponents for twenty-two rounds in his last five bouts. But then, I would retort with the fact that Dillashaw’s per round strike output was 71.7. And this was against Raphael Assuncao, Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao (twice). Three of the best bantamweights in the division’s history.

He also faced a very game Joe Soto on extremely short notice. That would be a situation where a fighter could choose to be more cautious. Yet Dillashaw attempted 257 more significant strikes (454 to 197) than Soto in that bout. These fights are proof of Dillashaw’s outstanding cardio. Because even while he is in there with some of the best–well into the “championship rounds”–his attack output doesn’t waver.

The Duane Ludwig disciple has thrown 1,578 strikes in his last five fights.

Now of course, these are strikes thrown, not landed. With there being such a large gap in strikes attempted between the two, it could be assumed that Dillashaw’s percentage of strikes landed may be lower than Lineker’s. Since he has been in quite a few championship bouts, and it would affect his accuracy numbers as he tired later in the fights. However, their average percentage of strikes landed over their last five fights is pretty much the same. As Lineker landing an average of 39 percent of his strikes in each fight, while Dillashaw averaged 38.2 percent.

There are other factors in these numbers that do affect them to an extent. They do include strikes landed on the ground. But in recent fights, neither Dillashaw or Lineker are men who butter their bread via the takedown. Dillashaw did early on in his career, but he has completely evolved his game from one of a wrestling base, to elite striking.

Also, you must take into account portions of these strikes were landed after both men had staggered and hurt their opponents. Although, that is what makes them so dangerous. While not overly accurate, both men’s high volume, matched with their legitimate power, is a daunting attack to defend for their opponents. Especially since both have shown a solid to great (looking at you Lineker) ability to take return fire in the pocket.

On the surface, this scrap has all the makings to be a fight of the night candidate. Yet, when you look further into the details, this fight has the capability to be a fight of the year contender. And considering the fact that this might be a title-challenger eliminator, this one has must-see written all over it.

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