Sometimes it isn’t enough to predict how a fight will finish (KO, submission, or decision). Sometimes we want to know in what round a fight will finish.
[Ed. Note: Make sure to check out all of Mike the Geek's other MMA analysis over at Breakdown Fights]
To answer that question we looked at all 3-round fights in the Fight Metric database that were won by either KO/TKO (left graph) or submission (right graph) and calculated the % that ended each round:
The graphs show that finishes most often come in the first round. Finishes in the 3rd round are very uncommon.
What about 5-round fights?
Similar story. About 2/3 of finishes come in either round 1 or 2. Finishes in the championship rounds are rare.
Conclusion: whether you’re betting props or just putting your fight picking skills to the test, picking a fight finish in late rounds is (statistically) a bad bet. If you think that the fight is going to finish by KO/TKO or submission, the smart money is on an early round victory.
Mike the Geek
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Related post: How UFC Finishes have Changed over Time
Geek note: to compare apples with apples, only fights with 5 minute rounds included.