This article is part of our Fight Stat Wrap series.
It seems like the UFC never takes a break. The promotion was back following the Thanksgiving holiday with yet another card. The main event of UFC Melbourne was originally set to be rematch between former Strikeforce champions Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. Injuries derailed those plans, however, as Robert Whittaker vs. Derek Brunson was then elevated to the new feature bout.The following is a by-the-numbers recap that highlights the stats and milestones that stood out on the main card, with stats courtesy of FightMetric.com.
Robert Whittaker roars back against Derek Brunson
Brunson came into this riding a five-fight winning streak and a four-fight knockout streak. Over his last four bouts, he had outlanded his opponents 65 to 5 in terms of significant strikes. After hurting Whittaker early, he clearly thought he was headed towards another quick finish. That didn't come to pass, however, as Whittaker avoided a large part of Brunson's flury and took over. Whittaker landed 33 significant strikes and scored the second fastest knockout of his career.
Andrew Holbrook hands prospect Jake Matthews another loss
The story of this fight really was Holbrook's ability to scramble on the ground. In the past, Matthews has relied on his takedown ability to win fights. In his seven-fight UFC career, he has landed 10 takedowns. and he managed to wrestle Holbrook to the floor three times. Despite those efforts, Holbrook was able to get out of bad situations and threaten offensively, as he earned three submission attempts. In the striking game, Holbrook was much more efficient and effective, as he outlanded Matthews 30 to 22 on significant strikes. Holbrook was also much more accurate, landing 56 percent of his attempts compared to 35 percent for his opponent.
Omari Akhmedov prevents Kyle Noke from implementing offense
Stylistically, this fight played into Akhmedov's hands. He likes to come forward and employ a low volume striking attack. Noke normally stays on his bike and circles away. Akhmedov was more than willing to chase him down and land whenever possible. Not only did this allow Akhmedov to dictate the pace of the fight, but the pressure also prevented Noke from getting any offense going. Akhmedov absorbed only 16 significant strikes, which is tied for his second best defensive performance of his UFC career. Prior to this fight, Noke had never landed fewer than 31 significant strikes in a fight that went to a decision in his combined UFC/Elite XC career.
Alex Volkanovski dominates Yusuke Kasuya
This was thorough domination by Volkanovski. He outlanded Kasuya 50 to 4 in terms of significant strikes. Volkanovski finished with a 1413 StrikeScore, a statistical measure of striking efficiency, which was by far the highest of the event. Kasuya's only real offense was rolling for leg locks, but he did not even come close enough for FightMetric to award him with an attempt. On top of that, the strategy routinely put him into position to eat unanswered strikes.
Tyson Pedro forces Khalil Rountree to grapple
Pedro came into this fight at the No. 202-ranked light heavyweight, per Fight Matrix. With the victory, he moved all the way up to No. 73. Rountree struggled with the grappling portion of the game for his second-straight fight in the UFC. In less than 20 minutes of fight time in the UFC, Rountree has been taken down eight times and allowed eight passes. In his debut, he managed to avoid the submission, but that was not the case here.
Danielle Taylor fails to engage against Seo Hee Ham
Clearly Taylor's strategy was to move around on the outside and hunt for big power strikes. She really could not land anything of consequence (that is, until Ham caught a nasty eye poke in the last round). After two less-than-exciting UFC fights, Taylor has landed only 23 percent of her significant strikes.She will need to improve her accuracy in order to have success going forward.
In the first two rounds, Ham appeared to be getting the better of the exchanges. 14 of the 17 media scorecards tracked by MMADecisions.com had the bout for Ham. That's not always consistent with the judges cageside, however, as two of the three judges awarded Taylor the decision 30-27. This plays into the theory that judges reward activity, since Taylor attempted 162 significant strikes, while Ham only threw 103.