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Behind the UFC 137 numbers: Complete statistical breakdown for B.J. Penn vs Nick Diaz fight


Two top-level welterweights will collide at full speed when former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn takes on former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz at UFC 137 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 29, 2011.

Originally, the main event was set to feature a championship bout between UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz before the fiery fighter from Stockton, Calif., pulled a now infamous disappearing act, no showing two very important press conferences.

But then after St. Pierre sustained a knee injury in training less than two weeks ago, along with weeks of additional UFC 137 fight card musical chairs, Diaz has made his way into the main event once again. Now he will be forced to trade blows with a man who he admits is among his few his heroes in this sport., along with support from the fantastic number-crunching fellows at CompuStrike, will take you behind the numbers that make up this complex match up of mixed martial arts (MMA) masters in the extended entry below.

Ready to geek out? Let's do this:

We're going to look at the different aspects of each fighters respective game. We'll see who holds the advantages and where. The following information is based on a 13-fight average.

First off, let's examine the striking game. Overall, Penn holds a slight advantage in accuracy, but it should be noted that Diaz throws a much larger volume of strikes in his fights. Here's the big picture:

Total Strikes:

Penn - 70 of 130
Diaz - 119 of 231


Penn - 54%
Diaz - 52%

Total Power Strikes Landed:

Penn - 45
Diaz - 91

Total Non-Power Strikes Landed:

Penn - 25
Diaz - 28

As you can see, Penn appears to be more crisp with his stand up skills, but the numbers seem to say that Diaz does more damage. It's also worth noting that Diaz has almost double the amount of knockouts in his career than does Penn. (Diaz has 13 [technical] knockouts to Penn's seven). 

With that out of the way, we know that this is mixed martial arts, not boxing. Let's breakdown the disparity between punches and kicks. 

Total Arm Strikes Landed:

Penn - 42 of 94
Diaz -  89 of 185

Percentage of Arm Strikes Landed:

Penn - 45%
Diaz - 48%

Power Strikes Landed:

Penn - 27
Diaz - 69

Non-Power Strikes Landed

Penn - 15
Diaz - 20

So far, you'd have to give a decided stand up advantage to the slugger from Stockton, particularly when hands are being thrown.

For "kicks," let's check out who has a leg up on the competition when the lower extremities start to get involved:

Total Leg Strikes Landed:

Penn - 7 of 8
Diaz -  16 of 23

Percentage of Leg Strikes Landed:

Penn - 88%
Diaz - 70%

Power Leg Strikes Landed:

Penn - 4
Diaz - 13

Non-Power Leg Strikes Landed:

Penn - 3
Diaz - 3

Again, Penn looks to be more accurate, but Diaz is doing more damage.

Finally, let's talk ground game. Both fighters are seasoned veterans of the canvas and very, very high-level Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners. In Penn's career, he has finished opponents by submission six times. Meanwhile, Diaz has done the same on eight occasions.

Here are the detailed statistics relating to what happens when these guys hit the mat:

Ground Strikes Landed:

Penn - 21 of 28
Diaz - 14 of 23


Penn - 75%
Diaz - 61%

Power Ground Strikes Landed:

Penn - 14
Diaz - 9

Non-Power Ground Strikes Landed:

Penn - 7
Diaz - 5


Penn - 9 of 13 for 69%
Diaz -  9 of 32 for 28%

Submission Attempts:

Penn - 8
Diaz - 10

Dominant Positions:

Penn - 18
Diaz - 17

It's also important to point out that Penn has stuffed 43 of his opponents' 58 takedown attempts (74 percent). 

So that's the whole picture. It would certainly appear that if things stay standing, Diaz should be favored. If the action goes to the floor, Penn holds the statistical advantage.

Overall, Saturday's match up at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, looks like it should be a close and very exciting bout. At least on paper.

How's our "MMA math?" Were you surprised by any of the results? Do these figures make any of you Maniacs want to change your minds about any sig bets?

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