The UFC returns for the last event of 2016 with a rare Friday night pay-per-view. In the main event, women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes will defend her title against former champion Ronda Rousey. The two fighters employ drastically different styles. One of the following statistical categories will almost certainly end up being the difference at UFC 207.
On paper, Nunes is the better striker, and that comes across in the stats. In her UFC/Strikeforce career, she has built a 1.42 striking differential, which is significant strikes landed per minute minus significant strikes absorbed per minute. Rousey has managed only 0.69 in her combined UFC/Strikeforce career. Before her fight against Holly Holm, Rousey was actually performing quite well in this metric because she had finished opponents before they could mount any offense. However, after the Holm fight, her significant strikes absorbed per minute jumped from 2.63 to 3.36.
On the other hand, Nunes has been on a tear of late. Since falling to Cat Zingano at UFC 178, she has put up gaudy numbers. In the four-fight stretch, she is landing 5.24 significant strikes per minute and absorbing only 1.47, which is a 3.77 striking differential. Nunes might not be as polished a striker as Holm, but Rousey might struggle if this bout plays out on the feet and at striking range.
Rousey's ability to latch on a quick submission has always been the strongest aspect of her game. In her UFC/Strikeforce career she has earned seven of her 10 wins via submission. She attempts 4.9 submission attempts per 15 minutes, by far the highest rate among ranked bantamweights. Julianna Pena and Zingano are tied for second with 1.5. Nunes has not been submitted since her professional debut in 2008. In the UFC, she has allowed only three submissions, and all of those came against Zingano. Despite solid submission defense, it is probably not wise for Nunes to spend extended periods on the ground against Rousey.
Because of her Olympic judo background, Rousey has been able to rely on her takedown ability to set up her submissions. In her UFC/Strikeforce career, she has attempted 6.43 takedowns per 15 minutes and landed 68 percent of those attempts. She has landed at least one takedown in six of her bouts and won five of those fights via submission.
Nunes has successfully defended 73 percent of her opponents' takedown attempts. Since the Zingano fight, her opponents have gone 1-for-10 on takedowns, with only Valentina Shevchenko landing one at UFC 196. Rousey probably will need at least one takedown to be successful in this fight.
Average fight time
One of Rousey's trademarks has been her ability to finish fights quickly. Her average fight time is only 2:46, and she has won six bouts in the UFC/Strikeforce in under one minute. Only two of her bouts have gone longer than one round, a victory over Miesha Tate at UFC 168 and her loss to Holm at UFC 193. It would be easy to say that a longer fight favors Nunes. However, Nunes also has a penchant for making quick work of her opponents. Her average fight time is 5:37. In nine fights in the UFC/Strikeforce, Nunes has been out of the first round in only three of those bouts, and she has dropped two of the three. If history means anything here, this fight probably will finish quickly regardless of who ends up having the upper hand.