Shane Burgos has racked up some staggering statistics after four fights in the UFC.
Burgos’ relentless pace and constant forward pressure have been a product of excitement for fans ever since the 27-year-old joined the promotion in December 2016. Marching forward at his opponent, and occasionally breaking into a light jog, Burgos has overwhelmed three of his four opponents with continued work to the body and head.
Even in his most recent bout with Calvin Kattar, a third-round defeat, Burgos had recovered from a disappointing opening round, and it seemed, for a brief moment, that Burgos’ in-your-face approach had taken a toll on Kattar.
Before Shane Burgos steps into the cage again at UFC 230, let’s walk you through some of the mind-boggling statistics behind his four octagon appearances so far.
Note: All data has been sourced from FightMetric. We often refer to FightMetric’s ‘stat leaders’ page in this article – which tracks athletes with five or more fights with the UFC. We’ll refer to these rankings throughout this article, but it’s important to remember that Burgos has only competed four times inside the octagon before UFC 230.
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute
We’ll do the analysis one day, but would anyone be unsurprised to find a positive correlation between significant strikes landed per minute and ‘Fight of the Night’ awards?
Realistically, it’s fairer to say that there’s a correlation between strikes landed and excitement.
If that’s true, it’s likely the reason why Justin Gaethje, for example, has won three ‘Fight of the Night’ awards in only three fights with the UFC. Gaethje lands a ridiculously high 8.53 significant strikes per minute in the UFC while absorbing 10.54 in return – and who doesn’t enjoy watching this man fight?
It’d also explain why Shane Burgos has won two of these $50k bonuses, as well.
After four fights in the UFC and a little over 52 minutes inside the cage, Shane Burgos’ 341 significant strikes landed equates to a remarkable 6.49 strikes landed per minute.
To properly comprehend this blistering pace, there are only four active fighters with five or more fights in the UFC who record more significant strikes per minute:
- Leslie Smith – 7.56
- Cris Cyborg – 6.81
- Polo Reyes – 6.69
- Jessica Andrade – 6.58
And if you’re wondering how Burgos’ pace stacks up against the rest of the featherweight competition, FightMetric tracks that too:
- Max Holloway – 6.00
- Renato Moicano – 5.71
- Doo Ho Choi – 5.64
- Conor McGregor (*) – 5.53
- Dustin Poirier (*) – 4.72
Fun fact: Since moving to lightweight, Dustin Poirier’s significant strikes landed per minute has increased to 7.11 mostly thanks to the 174 times he tagged Gaethje in a little over three rounds.)
Burgos’ exceptional condition combined with his desire to get in and out of the cage as soon as possible ensures that his furious pace won’t slow down any soon.
“I always envision myself finishing my opponent,” Burgos explained in a recent interview with The Body Lock.
“I never see myself winning two or three rounds to win a decision. I take every single round as a separate fight and a separate chance to finish that fight. In the first round, I’ve got five minutes to finish that guy. In the second round, I’ve got another five minutes. Third round, it’s my last chance to finish this guy, I’m not thinking about points.”
“I’m trying to finish this guy every single time. That’s my sole purpose being inside the cage, to get in there and get out of there as quickly as possible.”
“I’m trying to finish from as soon as the bell rings all the way until the referee stops me, so I definitely see myself finishing the fight.”
See below for a reminder of how Shane Burgos finished Charles Rosa by walking him down, slipping incoming strikes, and then returning powerful punches all with a smile on his face.
— MMAHEYDAY (@MMAHEYDAY) April 9, 2017
Significant Strike Defense
Significant strike defense = the % of opponents strikes that did not land
Many fighters who record an unusually high number of significant strikes landed per minute aren’t necessarily known for their defense. The fast tempo and forward movement generally make it challenging to deflect or evade incoming strikes.
Justin Gaethje, for example, has a negative strike differential in his last three fights, and has defended just 53% of his opponent’s strikes after four fights in the UFC.
And Leslie Smith, the fighter with the highest significant strikes landed per minute after five fights in the UFC (7.56), has defended just 51% of incoming strikes.
In many ways, this makes Shane Burgos’ 66% significant strike defense look all the more impressive.
Burgos’ mixture of effective defensive techniques helps to not only evade punches and kicks but also set up attacks of his own. Although he is often seen storming toward his opponent, he’ll often wait for them to attack first before slipping to the outside or pulling his head back just enough to avoid the impact. If successful, he’s ready to return a series of punches of his own. And if he’s not prepared to counter an incoming strike, he’ll merely step back slightly out of range before eventually marching forward again.
If you’re wondering how Burgos’ significant strike defense compares to the rest of the UFC featherweight division, we’ve got that here thanks to FightMetric:
- Gabriel Benitez – 73.2%
- Enrique Barzola – 69.4%
- Chad Mendes – 69.0%
- Renato Moicano – 68.8%
- Frankie Edgar – 67.7%
- Alex Caceres – 65.2%
With confidence in his head movement thanks to fast reaction time and reflexes, Burgos has not only shown an ability to evade incoming strikes but also defend takedowns with ease.
Fun fact: A significant exception to the idea that high volume strikers have low significant strike defense % is Cris Cyborg, who lands 7.02 significant strikes per minute but absorbs only 1.79 per minute by defending 70% of incoming strikes.
After four fights in the UFC, Shane Burgos has showcased excellent takedown defense, managing to stop 32 of 34 takedown attempts (94%).
Whether it’s in the middle of the octagon or against the cage, Burgos’ fast reflexes, superb balance, and excellent technique have helped him to stuff almost all incoming takedowns.
Here’s a summary of Burgos’ takedown defense so far in the UFC:
- Calvin Kattar – 0 of 1 (0%)
- Godofredo Pepey – 0 of 14 (0%)
- Charles Rosa – 1 of 7 (14%)
- Tiago Trator – 1 of 12 (8%)
While Pepey and Trator, in particular, aren’t exactly known for being supreme takedown artists, it’s important to note that Burgos has kept each of these fighters below their career takedown accuracy %:
- Pepey – TD Acc: 7%
- Rosa – TD Acc: 34%
- Trator – TD Acc: 11%
For reference, here’s a list of active UFC featherweight fighters sorted by takedown defense % (with five fights or more):
- Jose Aldo – 90.6%
- Dennis Bermudez – 82.8%
- Max Holloway – 82.6%
- Hacran Dias – 77.8%
- Dan Hooker – 75.0%
While the statistics might sway you to believe that Shane Burgos falls under the “sprawl and brawl” umbrella, that statement would be underselling his ability on the mat.
With four submission victories in his first five professional fights, Burgos has since focused on keeping the fight standing in the UFC because he knows “that’s what wins bonuses and that’s what the fans want to see.”
“And honestly, it feels nice knocking somebody out compared to submitting somebody, so I got a little knockout happy. So, I feel like I haven’t even shown my kicking game, let alone my grappling game. I haven’t shown my full skillset yet at all.”
We look forward to seeing how Burgos’ takedown defense holds up as his career progresses with the UFC.
Make sure to tune in and watch Shane Burgos at UFC 230 as he looks to secure his fourth UFC victory against Kurt Holobaugh.
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.