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Eye Pokes In MMA, Poke To Win?



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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Paige VanZant Breaks arm in 1st Round of UFC St. Louis bout and continues to fight (Picture)



UFC St. Louis already began the weekend on an odd note. Two fights canceled, and three fighters missed weight. What was already an exciting, yet puzzling main card, fell into a paper shredder and promptly glued back together. As opposed to Uriah Hall vs. Vitor Belfort, in the co-main event, fans who tuned in received Paige VanZant vs. Jessica-Rose Clark. This shifting of walk-out times also awarded St. Louis-native Michael Johnson, the main card booking he desired.

The UFC’s preliminary journey to St. Louis, only took the promotion 25 years. The event’s success, in the opined of the local crowd, rode waves of disengagement to maddening decibel levels. Yet, the stories followed a fever pitch of a mimicked yearly Apple stock charts. Most impressive was the 23-year-old superstar, Paige VanZant.

Oregonian, VanZant, made her highly anticipated flyweight debut Sunday night, against Australian Jessica-Rose Clark. Unfortunately, the former Dancing with the Stars contestant suffered a broken arm less than five minutes into her divisional debut. The broadcast learned about the possibility of her injury when the fighter herself told her corner just before the start of the final round. She confirmed the injury, later that night via Instagram. A post from her hospital bed spoke about the injury while showing the brutal displacement of her bone via x-ray.

The injury became clear after the final bell rang. VanZant bent at her waist and held her arm in agony, no longer able to conceal the pain. Even as the results came in, she positioned her arm into a non-existent sling. Incredibly, the new flyweight managed her way through two rounds, a lot of which, was spent on the ground. Jessica-Rose Clark at one point, had her opponent in a triangle/arm-bar, trapping and hyper-extending VanZant’s broken arm. Although the former UFC strawweight, ultimately lost via unanimous decision, her performance was not easily forgettable. Courage, determination, and perseverance prevailed for Paige VanZant, while the body failed her.



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Fight Announcements

Darren Stewart Among Changes made to UFC Winnipeg



December 16th, the UFC will touch down in the cold Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The third Canadian event for the promotion this year, lost its main event in the second week of November, Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas, when Aldo, replaced Frankie Edgar at last weekends pay-per-view event, UFC 218. Fortunately, Josh Emmett was booked last week, to replace Aldo. The former featherweight champion is not the only one whom won’t make the walk in Canada.

Several fighters on the card have been forced to withdraw. The UFC announced changes to card yesterday releasing an article, indicating the replacements. Justin Scoggins withdrew due to a spinal injury, otherwise known as, spinal process fracture.

According to the Winchester Hospital website, most of these injuries heal without long-term damage.

Replacing the injured Scoggins, the undefeated British prospect, Pietro Menga. “Pitbull” compiled a 13-0 record before signing with the UFC. Seven, by way of submission. The British newcomer will face Tim Elliot at flyweight. Elliot, winner of TUF 24: Tournament of Champions, has had a bitter-sweet return to the UFC. With a record of 1-2 since his return, he looks to put on a dominating performance in order to find his way back into title contention.

The other Brit to posthumously join the Winnipeg card, Darren Stewart. Stewart replaces Vitor Miranda, to fight Julian Marquez in the middleweight division, the news was originally announced by MMA Today’s Nolan King.

After entering the UFC with an undefeated record, Stewart has gone winless in his three bouts with the promotion. Twice he fought Francimar Barroso, winning their first match-up, only to have the decision overturned by the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) for an inadvertent headbutt.

His opponent, Julian Marquez, found his way to the UFC roster through, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Marquez, knocked out his opponent, Phil Hawes, in the second round. Nicknamed, “the Cuban Missile Crisis”,  he dominated his opponent, taking him down twice in the round before cleanly landing a head kick as Hawes, stood up against the fence.

The final change to the card comes in the welterweight division. Oddly enough, the opponents of both, Danny Roberts and Nordine Taleb, withdrew. Roberts and Taleb instead, will fight each other, as reported by Nolan King as well.

Hopefully, Canada’s final UFC event of the year proceeds with its twelve scheduled bouts. UFC Winnipeg takes place at the Bell MTS Place, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on December 16th. The card features, Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael Dos Anjos, in the main event, elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on fan favorite Mike Perry.

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Sijara Eubanks out of TUF 26 Finale, Roxanne Modafferi steps in on short notice



Sijara Eubanks (2-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC)  is out of The Ultimate Fighter: A New World Champion finale. In her absence the UFC has announced that #1 ranked TUF 26 semifinalist, Roxanne Modafferi (21-13 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will be stepping up to fight Nicco Montano for the inaugural women’s flyweight championship.

Modafferi lost to Eubanks in the very last episode of TUF, she was then set to fight fellow castmember Barb Honchak in the finale that takes place on December 1. Early Thursday afternoon, Sijara has forced to pull out of the fight giving Roxanne the opportunity to fight for the championship against Nicco Montano

UFC released an official statement about the change courtesy of MMA Junkie “Due to medical issues, Sijara Eubanks, was hospitalized Thursday morning and has been pulled from her bout against Nicco Montano at Friday’s The Ultimate Fighter Finale. Stepping in for Eubanks to fight in the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight championship bout will be Ultimate Fighter 26 semifinalist Roxanne Modafferi.”

Honchak will now likely be facing TUF 26 alternate Lauren Murphy on December 2. Murphy lost her opponent Priscila Cachoeira after Cachoeira failed to get a visa for the fight.

Eubanks has taken to her personal Instagram to put out a statement to her fans. In the post, she writes, “First of all, I’m a champion. Point blank. I will be UFC champion, but it’s God’s will that it won’t be Friday night. I’m a gangster and I’ve cut more weight than most male fighters, and unfortunately, there were some miscalculations this cut, no excuses, I worked my ass off and went out on my shield. I was hospitalized early this morning for kidney failure but best believe I’ma be right back training and right back after that belt. This game is full of ups and downs, true champs know that and bounce back. Nicco and Roxanne I’m sure will have a great fight and best wishes to both those ladies. True class, those two. Nothing changes, I’m still the queen and I will claim my throne.
Thank you to all my coaches, friends and family and the wonderful staff at UFC.
God is good and I am truly blessed.”

The entire fight card to date is as follows:

  • Roxanne Modaferri vs Nicco Montano
  • Emily Whitmire vs Gillian Robertson
  • Barb Honchak vs Lauren Murphy
  • Ariel Beck vs Shana Dobson
  • DeAnna Bennett vs Melinda Fabian
  • Rachael Ostovich vs Karine Gevorgyan
  • Montana De La Rosa vs Christina Marks
  • Sean O’Malley vs Terrion Ware
  • Eric Spicely vs Gerald Meerschaert
  •  Joe Soto vs Brett Johns

The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale “A Champion Will Be Crowned” is still set to take place Dec.1st at The Park Theater, Paradise Nevada.





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