In this paper, we propose an accurate link performance abstraction technique for multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing systems with maximum likelihood (ML) receiver. The performance of ML detection (MLD) is estimated by using capacity bounds of two simple linear receivers. To this end, we give a simple parametrization to compute the desired per-stream signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) values, which can be applied for both vertically and horizontally coded MIMO systems. Based on the per-stream SNR estimates, the block error rate performance for each encoding block is finally obtained using the received-bit information rate metrics. From extensive simulations, we verify that the proposed method is accurate in the MIMO-MLD link evaluation with very low computational complexity.