UFC 259 Breakdown: Amanda Nunes vs Megan Anderson

Dec. 22, 2021

Hello all! Before I get into the breakdown, I wanted to quickly announce that MMA-DS.com has released our custom fighter pages for every fighter in UFC history. It has been a wild ride but they are ready to go! If you are not already familiar with my previous posts, here are the links breaking down the tools I will be using in this article: Strategic classes, Tactical classes and STeloR.

Amanda Nunes

This is a harder fight to scout than most. Amanda Nunes' mixture of power, point fighting and cardio make her an absolute nightmare to fight. There are no holes in her game and even if there were, her prodigious power covers them. What is there to be said that hasn’t been already, Amanda Nunes is the greatest WMMA fighter in the history of the sport and projects to remain at this level into the near future. Also, congratulations to Amanda and her wife Nina on their newborn daughter Raegan!

Megan Anderson

Megan Anderson is a really interesting fighter to scout. Her massive length makes her a huge hassle for any fighter to strike with. She has shown some weaknesses in the past with grappling and submissions but I imagine she has since developed solutions to these holes. Anderson looks to me like a fighter that should get this title shot in another two years. She is a very talented fighter but I think she needs more seasoning and cage time to really, truly challenge Amanda for the crown. I felt the same way about Amanda’s last fight with Felicia Spencer. The UFC is rushing along the Women’s Featherweight division in order to feed Amanda opponents but it will likely lead to a weaker division in the medium term.

Model results

Nunes takes a balanced strategic approach statistically and splits her time between grappling heavy and striking heavy. My models have her not losing a round since she took the belt from Cris Cyborg back in 2018. Nunes’ opponents overwhelmingly go striking heavy against her but statistically to no success. Hard to not keep repeating this but Nunes is an absolute force in MMA.

Megan Anderson offensive strategy
Megan Anderson offensive strategy
Offensive Strategic Class Number of Rounds Win % % of Total Rounds
Striking Heavy 4 0% 66.7%
Balanced Striker 1 100% 16.7%
Grappling Heavy 1 100% 16.7%

Anderson fights most of her rounds striking heavy yet my models have her losing all of them.

Opponents overwhelmingly take a grappling approach to deal with Anderson’s massive length and it shows in the statistics. Her opponents win these rounds at a rate of 66% so she could be in for a grappling heavy fight against Nunes.

Tactically, Nunes fights predominantly as a ground and pound grappler and head hunting striker. These two tactical classes are a fantastic fit for her raw, natural skills as she eviscerates her opponents to the tune of a 100% win rate with them. Her opponents fight her with a head hunting tactic, assuming they're aiming for a KO finish before Nunes gets the chance to land on them.

Megan Anderson offensive tactics
Megan Anderson offensive tactics
Offensive Strategic Class Offensive Tactical Class Number of Rounds Win % % of Total Rounds
Striking Heavy Balanced 2 0% 33%
Striking Heavy Head Hunter 2 0% 33%
Balanced Striker High Output Head Hunter 1 100% 17%
Grappling Heavy Ground and Pound 1 100% 17%

Tactically, Anderson takes an overall balanced approach by fighting using multiple tactical classes. Unfortunately, she is not very successful when opting for a strike heavy base.

Her opponents overwhelmingly fight her with a grappling heavy head hunting tactic which they win 50% of the time. I won’t be doing a STeloR breakdown of this matchup purely because the sample size is too small in the women’s featherweight division and rating them amongst their peers is unlikely to yield any new information.

I put together a program that utilizes STeloR, the tactical and strategic classes, as well as the judging model to simulate 10 000 fights between the two of them while summarizing the outcomes. Here were the results.

Outcome % Chance Winner
DEC 40.9% Nunes
DEC 22.3% Anderson
KO 29% Nunes
SUB 7.6% Nunes

Once again, Nunes is the GOAT. I think there is the possibility that Anderson wins this matchup but it would be the textbook definition of a puncher’s chance. I am (unsurprisingly) taking Nunes in this one.

Fighters Mentioned: