Joe Rogan famously described one of MMA fighter Anderson Silva’s fights as a “Ballet of violence.” The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is by far the biggest promoter of mixed martial arts (MMA) events. Yes, there is a ton of violence in these fights. But when learning about the endless array of strategies and techniques fighters use one can’t help but liken these matches to chess games or, forgive me, Magic the Gathering. The enormous space of possibilities in MMA has led to unpredictable shifts in strategy from year to year. The graph below captures some of these vacillations. It shows, year-by-year, the distributions of final winning moves in UFC matches.
The graph below displays the proportion of fights that ended with a given technique and allows us to get a glimpse into the evolution of MMA.
The data is from this reddit post by /u/geyges. I used python and D3.js for the visualization.