LiveScore Bet have taken an in-depth look at the seven key factors which are crucial to a fighter’s success in the ring.
With the help of science, they have analysed what viewers could see unfold on October 29th. They have also shared their results with Sport Rehabilitation Lecturer Chris Piel at the University of Salford, Dr John Allen who has been a lead physiotherapist with GB, Olympic and England Athletics and Max Cotton, an ex-MMA fighter, founder and CEO of digital fitness startup Another Round, to get their expert insight.
Within combat sports, it’s needless to say testosterone is a key component of a successful athlete, giving them the fuel for aggressive performances. From late adolescence, testosterone levels in males decline at an average of 1%/year. Among the benefits of a high testosterone count are high energy levels and stronger bones and muscles. It also keeps depression and anxiety at bay which is important when maintaining a training regime. From the age of 25, when an average male has levels of 13 ng/dL in the body, it starts to rapidly decrease and at 47 is typically around 9 ng/dL.
“Particularly significant for this kind of age difference and context would be age-related hormone changes, although it is worth noting Anderson Silva has previously been sanctioned for doping offences*.” – Chris Peil
*Anderson Silva served a 1-year ban in 2015 after testing positive for banned steroids.
Resilience- Bone density
We have measured a fighter’s resilience in terms of their bone density and resistance to breaks and fractures. In adult males, bone density actually remains fairly stable into the 50s, before an accelerated breakdown leads to a weakening of bones. Paul (25) and Anderson (47) will be almost identical in this respect, according to norms, so prepare for a bruising encounter!
“Loss of bone density occurs with age especially if activity levels diminish which maintain density.” – Dr John Allen
Strength- Muscle mass
Although not the only factor in overall strength, muscle mass (and the rate at which you lose it) has a pretty big part to play. Up to age 25, an adult male will experience an increase in muscle mass, until it plateaus somewhere between 25-30. Throughout the 30s muscle mass is maintained, but at 40 it’s estimated a highly physically active man can still lose between 3-8% per decade (with the decline even sharper after 60).
“Overall, you lose muscle mass with age and that can start from your 30s” – Chris Peil
Endurance- VO2 max
Both fighters will aim to get the job done swiftly October 29th- but should the bout go the distance, Paul and Silva will call on their energy reserves to reach the final bell. A high VO2max score (meaning volume oxygen maximum) allows greater energy production to keep muscles and lungs going. Losing cardio fitness and a decreased maximum heart rate as you age lowers your VO2 max- most studies suggest it decreases 10%/decade from 25, from a score of 59-62 for elite athletes. As long as Paul has cut no corners, he should have the advantage late in the fight.
‘As you get older what is considered a ‘good’ VO2 Max score gets lower as it will naturally decline by a few per cent each year. But Jake Paul carries a lot of muscle mass and hasn’t looked like a particularly fit fighter in any of his other outings so I don’t see this being a huge advantage for him. More likely Silva can make him work harder by imposing his game plan and making Paul react.” – Max Cotton.
Efficiency- Heart health
There are many cornerstones of sporting greatness, but none can be achieved without a healthy heart. The ability to fuel your whole body with oxygen comes down to how efficiently the heart does its job. A BPM of anywhere between 49-55 is considered prime for an athlete in their 20s, while the top score for a 45+ year old is around 50bpm. Having said this, Silva has been a world class athlete since his teenage years, whereas Paul only turned pro at 22- after spending his youth making YouTube videos- so this one is too close to call.
“Fighters at the top level like Silva are likely to have a high functioning cardiovascular system, I don’t see this being an issue for him when it comes to age unless he’s been injecting himself with things he shouldn’t have been.” – Max Cotton
Speed- Muscle fibres
Speed is linked to the type of muscle fibres in the body- everyone has a certain amount of both slow (Type 1) and fast (Type 2A & 2B) twitch muscle fibres. More 2A&B twitch fibres mean the muscle can produce short, fast bursts of power. Powerful fighters with a high KO% will have a lot of type 2 fibres. Silva is certainly one of those, being recognised as perhaps the greatest striker in UFC history- with an accuracy of 60% throughout his career- and numerous records to his name. However, due to his age, his body will have lost a good deal of the power he used to have. Paul certainly has more of a chance against his older opponent than if he fought 25-year-old Silva.
“All muscle fibres reduce in size (cross-sectional area) with age, and this affects the type 2 fibres more, meaning the proportional cross-sectional area of the muscle made up of type 2 fibres reduces.” – Chris Peil
Resistance to injuries
Staying injury free is perhaps the most important factor of all- throughout training camp and the fight, remaining in shape is vital to the chances of securing victory. The most common boxing injuries can set a fighter back from a couple of weeks to several months (a broken tibia can mean five months of inactivity). What is clear is that with age, the body’s healing time greatly increases and it takes longer to return to full fitness.
“As a fighter gets older degeneration becomes more significant than regeneration properties and so injury recovery is less potent.” – Dr John Allen
Total score (half point each in case of split)
Paul: 5 1/2
Silva: 1 1/2
LiveScore Bet odds on the fight have Jake Paul at 3/4 to win.
We collected data on how age affects different health and fitness attributes, how long injuries take to heal, and how age affects this from several different journals and sources. We then applied this data and information to the ages of Paul and Silva to see how their ages may affect their chances of winning.