UFC on Fox 22

In this edition of Head 2 Head, we take an in-depth, by the numbers look at women’s mixed martial arts and the main event UFC on Fox 22 as Strawweights “12 Gauge” Paige VanZant and the “Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson do battle inside the Octagon.

On Saturday, December 17 at the Golden 1 Centre in Sacramento, California VanZant (7-2) makes her second appearance since her successful stint on “Dances with the Stars” to face former Invicta Atomweight champion Waterson (13-4).

Using FightMetrics, we look at the following areas to try to determine the most likely outcome of this intriguing encounter at UFC on Fox 22: –

SLpM – Significant Strikes Landed per Minute

Str. Acc. – Significant Striking Accuracy

SApM – Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute

Str. Def. – Significant Strike Defence (the % of opponents strikes that did not land)

TD Avg. – Average Takedowns Landed per 15 minutes

TD Acc. – Takedown Accuracy

TD Def. – Takedown Defense (the % of opponents TD attempts that did not land)

Sub. Avg. – Average Submissions Attempted per 15 minutes


Significant Strikes Landed per Minute

Since her UFC debut in 2014 VanZant (SLpM: 3.54) has the edge in the significant strikes landed per minute, landing 1.3 strikes more per minute then her UFC on Fox 2 opponent Waterson (SLpM: 2.51).

As a result the 22-year-old has won four of her last five fights, defeating the likes of Kailin CurranFelice HerrigAlex Chambers and most recently Bec Rawlings in spectacular fashion in a bout where she landed 25 of 63 strikes thrown en-route to scoring a head kick knockout against the Australian at UFC on Fox 21 last August.

Despite being at a disadvantage in this area on paper, JacksonWink trained Waterson has dominated her previous two UFC opponents Angela Magana (47 to 8) and Jessica Penne (20 to 14) having secured submission wins over the pair.

Advantage: VanZant

Significant Striking Accuracy

Given her well documented background in various martial arts such as Free Style Karate, Muay Thai and WuShu to name a few it is no surprise that the “Karate Hottie” hold the advantage in the signifiant striking accuracy.

Waterson (Str. Acc.: 73%) has landed 20 percent more strikes then VanZant (Str. Acc.: 53%) and it is this accuracy that saw the 30-year-old win 23 percent of her 13 victories via KO/TKO.

Advantage: Waterson

Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute

Once again given Waterson’s well-documented background in the striking art, she enjoys a distinct advantage in this area with New Mexico native averaging less then one (0.76) significant strikes absorbed per minute.

In contrast the fighter nicknamed “12 Gauge” has found it more difficult to avoid being hit by her opponents, absorbing 1.7 (2.46) more strikes per minute then the woman she faces at Golden 1 Centre this Saturday.

Vanzant may be at a disadvantage here and prone to take more damage then her upcoming opponent but her toughness can not be denied and it is that toughness that allowed her to withstand almost 23-minutes of punishment against No.4 ranked Rose Namajunas before falling victim to a 5th round rear naked choke. Being able to draw upon this toughness on Saturday night can only be positive for the Nevada born fighter.

Advantage: Waterson

Significant Strike Defence

Despite her output not being on par with VanZant’s it abundantly clear that Waterson is the superior striking offensively AND defensively. It is this defensive edge that has allowed her to avoid being hit by her opponents and as a result her Significant Strike Defence (Str. Def: 70%) is 26 percent better then her Team Alpha Male trained opponent (Str. Def: 44%).

Advantage: Waterson

Average Takedowns Landed (per 15 minutes)

Waterson has evolved into a complete mixed martial artist during the course of her 9-year career and as a result she has become just as proficient a grappler as she is a clinical striker. As a result she (TD Avg.: 2.86) has been able to secure on average 1.06 more takedowns every 15 minutes than VanZant (TD Avg.: 1.80).

Despite her rugged fight style which often use “dirty boxing” to push her opponents up against the fence and grind them out with a view to sapping the energy out them, VanZant doesn’t go for takedowns as often as her style may suggest she would and because of this she is at a disadvantage in this department.

Advantage: Waterson

Takedown Accuracy

Wow yet again it is Waterson who leads the way in the advantage in average takedowns landed per 15 minutes, being perfect (TD Acc.: 100%) in this department with VanZant (TD Acc.: 40%) trailing her by a whooping 60 percent.

Advantage: Waterson

Takedown Defence

By now you can see a clear picture forming in this edition of Head 2 Head with the “Karate Hottie” being able to stuff over half of all takedowns attempted by her previous opponents (57% TD Def.). The former Dancing with the Stars contestant on the other hand has managed to defend 14 percent less of the attempts to take her down (43% TD Def.).

Advantage: Waterson

Average Submissions Attempted (per 15 minutes)

No surprises here as once again it is the woman fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico who in 15 minutes averages more attempts at submitting her opponents with two (Sub. Avg.: 2.9) more attempts every 15 minutes then VanZant (Sub. Avg.: 0.9).

Advantage: Waterson


Despite being tipped as the underdog by bookmakers in this fight the overall the stats shows that it is Waterson is the woman with a distinct the advantage in almost all of the key areas with superior striking offence and defence. The same applies in takedowns as well as submissions when the fight goes to the ground. But with VanZant in red hot form following her last outing it would be foolish to right her off.

Let us know who wins the UFC on Fox 22 main event, VanZant vs. Waterson? Comment below.