Jorge Masvidal. Underrated?

Dec. 20, 2021

The title of this post is intentionally biased for comical effect, wanted to get that out of the way to start with.

While working on the Investigating luckiness and unluckiness of judging decisions article, I stumbled upon an odd finding, that Jorge Masvidal stands out among the list of fighters with the unluckiest records in their career when comparing the model’s results with the actual results from the judges.

I was so intrigued with Jorge’s numbers that I decided to do a deeper dive and stumbled upon a hornets' nest. While looking through all fights that Jorge lost and seeing what rounds the judging model gave him, I found an apparently infamous fight, or as the article states a robbery, that my model gave Jorge a 30-27 or 3-0 victory. Turns out it is an infamous fight from 2015 that I think further illustrates just how valuable a resource like the Judging Model could be to MMA fans and fighters themselves but I digress.

The utility of this finding leads one to believe that it is possible to spot fighters who are essentially underrated by seeing their ratio of rounds won in losing efforts or vice versa, as stated in the above linked articles. But let’s take this thought one step further.

Once we have the information on hand that a fighter is essentially one or two skills/strategic tweaks from turning their overall record around, we can start to investigate what went wrong in fights they lost and what went right in those they won.

Going back to Jorge, we have discussed that when he loses, he is losing close fights but what about the inverse? How does he perform when he wins? Jorge has won 29 out of 33 rounds in fights that he has won. That is a truly astounding figure. From a data science perspective, when Jorge loses he loses a close fight but when he wins he absolutely dominates. That is the recipe for superstardom and it was all there statistically before the Darren Till fight that started off his career renaissance. Truly astounding.

Now the fun part, prognosticating. Out of the top 5 “unluckiest” fighters, we had Tim Elliot, Michael Johnson and Kelvin Gastelum. Based on their statistics, Michael Johnson best fits the bill with a winning round record of 20-3 with second place going to Kelvin Gastelum at 16-7. Personally, I would say Gastelum fits my own bill for the Jorge-esque renaissance if he can get his weight under control and drop down to welterweight (and make weight consistently).

All in all, pretty interesting findings! I hope to expand further on fun utilizations of the Judging Model. The level of insights that can be derived from its results are unending. I am currently workshopping a number of ways of displaying the results in creative ways so be on the lookout for that!

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