This time, Frankie Edgar couldn’t pull off another improbable rally. The New Jersey native fought valiantly for five rounds in the UFC 144 main event against former WEC champion Benson Henderson, but in the end it was “Smooth” whose hand was raised in the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Edgar, meanwhile, suffered his first loss since 2008.
Henderson’s strikes left their mark throughout the bout, as Edgar’s left eye was nearly swollen shut and his nose was bloodied by a vicious upkick. Still, “The Answer” believed he had done enough to earn the nod from the cageside judges. Some who saw Edgar’s consistent attack agreed with him.
It is the type of tooth-and-nail struggle that is difficult to properly assess with the naked eye alone. While another viewing of the fight may certainly be in order, raw numbers can also be useful. Here is a by-the-numbers look at UFC 144, with statistics courtesy of FightMetric.com:
19: Significant strikes by which Henderson outlanded Edgar over the course of their five-round epic. “Smooth” landed more strikes than Edgar in every round but the first, when both men landed 13 significant strikes apiece. On the night, the new champion landed 87 significant strikes to Edgar’s 68.
701: Total significant strikes landed in the UFC career of Edgar. With his effort against Henderson, he moved past Sam Stout and Nate Diaz into eighth place on the promotion’s all-time list.
59: Head strikes landed by Henderson, the most important of which was the upkick that had Edgar reeling in the second round. Meanwhile, Edgar landed 40 strikes to the head in the contest.
5: Takedowns for Edgar against Henderson, the most anyone has achieved against the former WEC king. Mark Bocek held the previous best with four versus “Smooth” at UFC 129.
17 minutes, 11 seconds: Average fight time for Edgar, the longest in UFC history. “The Answer” has been a part of 11 decisions in his professional career, including four five-round tussles. He is 7-2-1 in contests that go the distance.
3: Guillotine submission attempts by Henderson. The MMA Lab representative, who has finished four fights with the hold, was unable to elicit a tap out from Edgar, attempting the move in rounds two, four and five.
4: Takedowns for Ryan Bader against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, tying him with Murilo “Ninja” Rua for the most of anyone against “Rampage” during his UFC and Pride career. Entering the night, Jackson’s 82.9 defense rate for takedowns was No. 9 all-time in UFC history.
72: Ground strikes landed by Bader. The Power MMA product was 0-for-4 on takedowns in the first round and mounted no offense on the mat. In round two, he executed two takedowns and landed 29 strikes and translated two more takedowns in the final frame into 43 strikes.
2,499: Days since Jackson’s last loss on Japanese soil. The Memphis, Tenn., native lost to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on April 23, 2005 at the Osaka Dome via soccer kicks in the first round.
18: Fights since Cheick Kongo had been stopped by strikes. Prior to his first-round TKO loss to Mark Hunt, the Frenchman’s last such defeat came against Gilbert Yvel in 2004.
91: Significant strikes landed by Jake Shields in his unanimous decision victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama, the most of the former Strikeforce middleweight champion’s career, including five-round affairs against Georges St. Pierre (78 significant strikes landed), Dan Henderson (73) and Jason “Mayhem” Miller (10).
.140: Takedown success rate for Shields. The Californian landed two of his 14 attempts against Akiyama.
177: Total significant strikes by which Akiyama has been outlanded in his five-fight UFC career. Shields landed 58 more strikes than the judoka, more than anyone during that period except Michael Bisping, who connected on 68 more significant strikes than “Sexyama” at UFC 120.
21-to-0: Significant strike advantage for Tim Boetsch in the third round of his technical knockout victory against Yushin Okami. It was a large turnaround from the second stanza, when Okami landed 15 significant strikes to Boetsch’s 0.
144: Total strikes by which Hatsu Hioki outlanded Bart Palaszewski during the course of their bantamweight clash. The former Shooto champion connected on 78 of 92 total strikes in round one and 79 of 83 in round three. “Bartimus” landed just 11 of 30 strikes in those two frames.
3: Fights Anthony Pettis has won in which he has landed less than 10 significant strikes. Including his highlight-reel kick, “Showtime” landed nine significant strikes against Joe Lauzon. Previously he landed four significant strikes in a win over Danny Castillo and one in a triumph against Mike Campbell.
10: First round victories in the 18-fight professional career of Pettis after he knocked out Lauzon at 1:21 of the opening period.
1-5: Record for Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto since his 14-fight winning streak concluded with a victory over Rani Yahya at a K-1 event in 2007. After to falling to Vaughn Lee, “Kid” is 0-3 in the UFC.
5: Consecutive UFC losses for Steve Cantwell, the most of anyone in the history of the promotion. Prior to falling to Riki Fukuda via unanimous decision on Saturday, Cantwell had lost to Luiz Cane, Brian Stann, Cyrille Diabate and Mike Massenzio.
124: Significant strikes landed by Fukuda, the 14th highest total in a UFC fight. He is the 25th fighter to land 100 or more significant strikes in a fight in the Octagon.