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Injuries

Eye Pokes In MMA, Poke To Win?

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Findings in short – Sample Size 100 fights that saw eye pokes since UFC 110

  • 53% Ended with the fighter guilty of committing an eye poke go on to win the fight
  • 35% Saw a fighter overcoming an eye poke to win
  • 12% Ended in draws or situations where both fighters had their eyes poked

On a recent episode of Joe Rogan’s Fight Companion podcast, the UFC announcer urged the MMA media to provide an analysis on who goes on to win fights after an eye poke occurs. With everything Rogan has given all of us over the years, it seems like the least we can do.

Starting back at UFC 110 and working our way forward, we have identified 100 fights inside the octagon that saw one, or sometimes both, fighters subjected to a finger in the eye.

So, is there a correlation between eye pokes and victories in the Octagon? We discovered that 53% of the fights considered, saw the fighter guilty of committing an eye poke go on to win the fight. That is compared to only 35% overcoming an eye poke to win, with the remainder of the fights either ending in draws or situations where both fighters had their eyes poked.

Interestingly, when you isolate the fights where the eye poke took place in the first round, the poker went on to win 74% of the fights. Included in that list was the Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Claudia Gadelha bout at UFC Fight Night: dos Santos vs Miocic where Jedrzejczyk caught Gadelha in the eye twice in rounds one and two before winning by decision.

Then there were the nights where eyes were particularly vulnerable, like UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs Manuwa in 2014. We saw Claudio Henrique da Silva hurt Brad Scott’s eyes in rounds 1 and 3 en route to a decision victory. Neil Seery poked Brad Pickett’s eyes twice but still lost, and in the main event Jimi Manuwa took a finger to the eye in the second round before being finished later in the round.

Worse was UFC 159 in New Jersey in 2013, the card headlined by Jon Jones title defense against Chael Sonnen. Not only were Bryan Caraway, Ovince Saint Preux, Gian Villante, Phil Davis, Alan Belcher and Michael Bisping all unfortunately sticking their fingers in their opponent’s eyes, but the fights between Saint Preux and Villante, and Belcher and Bisping, were stopped as a direct result of the eye pokes.

Five times out of his nine fights though the period, Michael Bisping fights involved eye pokes. Against Wanderlei Silva and Alan Belcher, Bisping was the culprit. Against Yoshihiro Akiyama, Jason Miller and Vitor Belfort, Bisping was the wronged party. In the aforementioned Alan Belcher fight, Bisping was also caught with a finger in the eye earlier in the fight himself.

And what of Jon Jones, often facing the wrath of the online MMA community, for eye poking? Three times he featured on the list, with eye pokes against Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira and Daniel Cormier, a small feature of his three victories. It should however be pointed out that through the period, Jones had nine straight wins without a single eye poke before the Gustafsson fight.

The results aren’t particularly conclusive, overall, but the stat where 74% of the first round pokers go on to win the fight shows that the longer a fight goes on, the more an early eye poke could really hinder a fighter. I think the desire for fighters to just carry on and ‘tough it out’, may be to their detriment here and I would urge the independent cage side doctors to intervene more here. How exactly they test someone’s vision in the heat of the moment, I don’t know, but fighters please be wary, an early eye poke doesn’t look good for your chances in the rest of the fight.

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Bellator

James Gallagher out of Bellator 187 in Dublin due to injury

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Irish fans will have to wait a little longer to see James Gallagher fighting on home soil after Gallagher suffered a knee injury in preparation for his main event fight with Jeremiah Labiano in Dublin next month. This bad news was first reported by MMAFighting.com.

The 20-year-old from Strabane co. Tyrone who trains in the famous SBG gym with Conor McGregor and Gunnar Nelson among others has set the featherweight division alight since joining Bellator in 2016.  James “The Strabanimal” Gallagher has gone 3-0 with all three of his wins coming by rear naked choke.

After submitting Chinzo Machida, the brother of former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida in Madison Square Garden Gallagher has become a budding star for Bellator.

Due to the youngster’s attitude and potential, many comparisons between Gallagher and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor have been made by the fans and media which has made Gallagher one of Bellator’s most recognizable names. This notoriety has ultimately led to the young Irishman getting a chance to headline in Dublin this November but this injury has delayed his rise for the time being.

Gallagher on social media Thursday stated that he has suffered an injury to his PCL and LCL in his knee and would be out for the remainder of the year. He has assured fans we would return next year and carry on where he started with “The Jimmy show.”

His longtime rival AJ McKee, who has engaged in a Twitter war with Gallagher after his last fight, will now headline Bellator 187 in the 3 Arena in Dublin on November 10th against Gallagher’s SBG teammate Brian Moore. Moore will be making his third appearance for Bellator in this featherweight clash.

 

 

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Injuries

UFC 216: Paige VanZant Pulls Out of Fight with Jessica Eye

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Paige VanZant vs Ronda Rousey

The UFC 216 card looks to have suffered a major blow as Paige VanZant has been pulled from the card citing a back injury, per Ariel Helwani.

VanZant (7-3) has not fought since losing to Michelle Waterson back in December 2016 and was scheduled to make her Flyweight debut against the unranked Jessica Eye.

As of, MMA Fighting, the number 10 ranked UFC Strawweight suffered an intervertebral disc injury whilst training jiu-jitsu, and was advised by her doctor to miss training for a few weeks.

Not only is this a major blow for VanZant as she looks to regain some momentum following her last outing, but it must be considered a huge blow for the UFC as VanZant is a popular figure who can contribute significantly to the buy rate.

Eye (11-6) will also be feeling hard done by on this occasion, as this marks the second time in a row her opponent has pulled out of scheduled bout, she was looking to make things right after suffering four defeats in a row.

The injury will not require surgery so there is a possibility of rescheduling the contest for a later date, although nothing has yet been mentioned. It remains to be seen whether Eye will wait, or ask to be rescheduled with a new opponent.

UFC 216 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on October 7th and is headlined by Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee for the Interim Lightweight Championship, it also features UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson as he takes on Ray Borg in his record eleventh title defence.

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Injuries

Germaine de Randamie out of UFC Fight Night 115

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Former UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion Germaine de Randamie has been forced out of next weeks Fight Night event in Rotterdam. The Dutch fighter was set to fight Marion Reneau in the UFC’s return to the Netherlands. The news was first reported by MMA Junkie.

‘GDR’ won the Women’s Featherweight belt back in February after beating former Women’s bantamweight champion, Holly Holm. The kickboxer won the fight by a controversial decision after punching Holm after the bell in two rounds. Germaine also injured her hand in the fight and announced shortly after that she would need surgery. GDR never ended up getting the surgery and that same injury has now forced her out of the upcoming fight.

Germaine ended up getting her title stripped a few months later after she refused to defend the belt against the now current champion, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino. She told many reporters that she considered Cyborg a cheater after she ended up failing a drug test for performance enhancing drugs. After a lot of backlash from both fans and fighters, the UFC stripped her title and made a new title fight at UFC 214 between Cyborg and Tonya Evinger. Cyborg ended up winning the fight by TKO in the 3rd round.

The UFC plan on keeping her former opponent Marion Reneau on the card and are currently searching for a replacement opponent. Reneau is currently coming off of a majority draw against Brazilian fighter Bethe Correia. Reneau’s biggest win so far in the UFC is against Jessica Andrade in a fight she won by submission via triangle choke.

The card is currently headlined by a heavyweight fight between Stefan Struve and Alexander Volkov. The card takes place on September 2nd in Rotterdam, Netherlands and will stream exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.

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