By: R. Eric Ellison
Glad to see you sliced your way through the internet to dissect another great UFC fight headed our way. This time, Zuffa bestows upon us UFC 178: Johnson Vs Cariaso, a card dotted with a handful of very interesting and exciting bouts. Today we zoom in on for title challenger Patrick “The Predator” Cote Vs striking phenom Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
Each “Statistically Speaking” article is broken down into three sections; The Wrap Sheet, Cross Examination, and The Winning Path. In The Wrap Sheet, we will take a closer look at each fighters statistics individually. The Cross Examination is where the fighters are compared to one another. Finally, The Winning Path takes the previous results and draws a bit of a numerical maphow each fighter may win.
Ready, set, read!
THE WRAP SHEET
Patrick Cote (20-8-0) had a long road since his title fight with Anderson Silva. For a moment there, many MMA fans wondered if “The Predator” was even still fighting. After losing to Anderson, he lost two more and then put together a four fight win streak outside the UFC before returning to be bested by Cung Le. Cote has recovered, taking wins over mid-tier UFC guys in 2014. Cote has eight wins via KO and eight wins on the cards. Of his eight losses, three have been submissions and he has only been knocked out a single time. Although his wrestling appears to be a decent factor for him, it’s one of his worst area ‘s on paper. At the end of the day, Cote puts people to sleep. (Because of his KO’s, not his numerous decisions)
Undefeated as a kickboxer in 20 fights, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is one of the most exciting strikers in MMA, especially those kicks. At 9-1-0 Thompson shows all the promise of a future top contender for the title. His fights to the cards are exciting, he has five KO’s, and his only loss is to Matt “The Immortal”Brown. Thompson has one of the highest striking outputs inside the Octagon, and despite not being the most accurate, “Wonderboy” has a way of making each shot more crucial than the last. His ground game is ever improving as well and he currently rides a takedown defense and success rate of between 65 and 70%.
“The Predator” has had a rough go of it since returning to the UFC. He lost to Le, won a DQ from punches to the back of the head, then struggled to grab wins over Bobby Voelker and Kyle Noke, neither man being top ten. If we review the striking, almost all of Cote’s stats float around a 50% halfway mark. Thompson has twice the output, slightly better defense, and a much larger arsenal of moves. “Wonderboy” has a more unique and diversified style on the feet and with his footwork. However, Cote is the kind of fighter that can change a fight with just one punch.
When it comes to the wrestling, Thompson again pulls ahead on the data. Have we seen Cote wrestle more? Certainly. As mind boggling as it may seem, Cote only scores about 1/4 of his takedown attempts and defends roughly 1/2. Although we don’t see Stephen rocking the ground action as much, his TD defense is almost 70%and he scores almost 2/3 of his takedown attempts. While it’s true we have yet to see any real submission attacks yet from “Wonderboy,” things will certainly get interesting if this one does hit the BJJ path, one of the only areas where Cote has the upper hand statistically.
THE WINNING PATH
For Cote,he needs to wear out and grind down Thompson like Matt Brown was able to do, or he absolutely must land devastating hands early. In his last two fights we saw Cote slowed and cracked by attacks, and “Wonderboy” is not the one to play around with in that department. I think with his eight KO’s and 8 decisions, Cote’s best mode of attack is to land bombs and float off. In-and-out style mixed up with the occasional takedown attempt. Looking at the stats his chances aren’t so great with the takedown, but if he can get Thompson guessing, Cote’s chances of landing the homerun punch go up fivefold.
Stephen Thompson can probably win this fight by simply not being knocked out by a Cote haymaker. If he can use that strong footwork, massive striking resume, and counter wrestling stats properly, Cote doesn’t stand much of a chance when we’re looking at it on paper. We cant forget that “Wonderboy” is no stranger to knocking people out either, and Patricks capacity to get stunned may come back to haunt him. Either way this fight promises to deliver in spades, and the stats show clearly that this fight will not be going to the judges scorecards. Look for a Thompson victory to make a bigger impact than a Cote one on the current state of the rankings.
See you tomorrow for our final UFC 178 Statistically Speaking where we, of course, will be covering the main event! Come back and see us Saturday afternoon for the full breakdown of the numbers on Johnson Vs Cariaso for the UFC Flyweight title!
( Photo Courtesy of Getty Editorial)