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The stats on 5 rounds versus 3

Our friend Rami from FightMetric got in touch via email to give his two cents on five rounds versus three:

I saw your post that pointed to the Five Ounces article about adding more rounds. I hope I can provide some numbers that will prove that this is a very bad idea. In fact, it’s so bad that it will almost certainly have the opposite effect: By adding more rounds, you are guaranteeing more decisions, and therefore, more controversial decisions. Check this out:

Before any fight starts, there’s about a 32% chance that it will end up going to a decision.

Once Round 1 ends without a finish, the fight now has a 52% chance of eventually going to decision.

If Round 2 ends without a finish, the fight now has a 79% chance of going to decision.

In championship fights, if it goes to Round 4, there’s now an 83% of a decision.

If the fight makes it all the way to Round 5, there’s a 94% chance of it going all the way. Only one fight in UFC history has ended in the fifth round (Ricco vs. Couture).

Unless every MMA fighter drastically improves his cardio, this can’t work. Guys lose their finishing ability as the fight goes on. Giving them more time just means more chances to throw weak punches and half-heared submission attempts.

I’ve never been much of a statistics guy myself because too many people use them to try and prove stuff that a bit of common sense says isn’t true. I don’t know if the numbers above show anything conclusively because fighters will go into a 5 round fight with different gameplans and it changes the whole dynamic of how they fight. That’s why I bet the stats for 5 round fights that go past the first, second, third etc. round have a different decision percentage than 3 round fights. Also, while it’s true that a tired fighter will have a harder time putting people away, that same tired fighter is also easier for his opponent to finish off.

Anyways, I suck at analysing stats so take those numbers and think em over for yourself. Personally I think decisions will continue to happen until MMA promotions institute a mandatory taser shock to the neck for every fighter that doesn’t finish off his opponent.