Chael Sonnen shares a moment with Mauricio Rua. | Jared Wickerham/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Fox needed something special to help launch its new 24-hour sports network, and UFC Fight Night 26 delivered the goods. In another groundbreaking moment for the Las Vegas-based promotion, Saturday’s card featured more than its share of big names and big finishes at the TD Garden in Boston.
At the top of the list was Chael Sonnen, the UFC’s master of self-promotion. In what was expected to be Sonnen’s final 205-pound bout, the outspoken wrestler authored a surprising submission finish of former light heavyweight king Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Meanwhile, Travis Browne established himself as a force to be reckoned with at heavyweight, rallying to knock out hulking Dutchman Alistair Overeem in the first round in the co-headliner. There were plenty of other standouts on this night, and as a result, plenty of facts and figures to examine. Here is a by-the-numbers look at UFC Fight Night 26, with statistics courtesy of FightMetric.com.
2: Submission attempts by Sonnen against Rua, the most the Oregonian has attempted in any UFC or WEC bout. Sonnen elicited a tapout from “Shogun” with a guillotine choke 4:47 into the first round of their light heavyweight bout. Sonnen has attempted a submission on three separate occasions: against Paulo Filho (WEC 31), Anderson Silva (UFC 117) and Brian Stann (UFC 136).
2,156: Days since Rua last suffered a submission defeat, when he tapped to a rear-naked choke from Forrest Griffin in the third round at UFC 76.
1,452: Total strikes landed by Chael Sonnen in his UFC career, No. 7 all-time in the promotion. He landed 58 strikes against Rua on Saturday.
9: Fighters on Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 26 card who have headlined a fight card. In addition to Rua and Sonnen, Alistair Overeem, Travis Browne, Urijah Faber, Michael Johnson, Michael McDonald, Mike Thomas Brown and Manny Gamburyan have all taken center stage at least once under the Zuffa banner.
3: Fights that ended in less than a minute on Saturday’s card, as Matt Brown (29 seconds), Steven Siler (50 seconds) and James Vick (58 seconds) all delivered explosive finishes in the promotion’s debut on Fox Sports 1.
27: Significant strikes by which Browne was outlanded in his co-main event showdown with Overeem. After absorbing some heavy knees and punches early, the Jackson’s MMA product recovered and finished his Dutch adversary with a front kick and follow-up punches at the 4:08 mark of round one.
8.5: Pounds shed by Overeem since losing to Antonio Silva at UFC 156. The Strikeforce veteran weighed 264 pounds against Silva, 255.5 against Browne.
8-0: Faber’s record in non-title bouts in the UFC and WEC. “The California Kid” used takedowns and ground-and-pound to grind out a unanimous verdict against Brazilian foe Iuri Alcantara in a bantamweight clash.
5: Times that Mike Pyle has landed less than 10 significant strikes in defeat in bouts examined by FightMetric.com. “Quicksand” failed to land a significant strike in his first-round knockout loss to Matt Brown.
71: Significant strikes by which Brown has outlanded opponents during his current six-fight winning streak. Five of those victories have been by knockout or technical knockout. In the lone bout that went the distance, Stephen Thompson held a 67-to-36 edge over Brown in significant strikes but was taken down five times.
14: Octagon appearances without consecutive losses for Joe Lauzon prior to UFC Fight Night 26. That figure ranks Lauzon No. 10 in the promotion, behind Nate Marquardt and Jim Miller, who have 15 appearances without back-to-back defeats, according to MMADecisions.com. Lauzon will not ascend the list any further, however, after losing to Miller at UFC 155 and Michael Johnson on Saturday.
116: Significant strikes landed by Johnson in a dominant decision victory over Lauzon. “The Menace” attempted more than twice as many significant strikes as his opponent (255 to 109) and scored a pair of knockdowns in round one. Johnson held a big striking edge in each frame: 42 to 7 in the first, 27 to 11 in the second and 47 to 7 in the third.
6: Career knockdowns landed by Michael McDonald after dropping Brad Pickett twice in the first round of their bantamweight scrap. That figure ties him with current 135-pound top contender Eddie Wineland for most knockdowns landed at bantamweight under the Zuffa banner.
42: Significant strikes landed by McDonald in that opening round. “Mayday” landed 61 percent (42 of 69) of his strikes in the frame, while Pickett (11 of 47) connected at a 23 percent clip.
1: Fight that has gone the distance in 16 professional bouts for Conor McGregor, who went to the judges’ scorecards for the first time in his career in taking a unanimous decision against Max Holloway.
30: Significant strikes by which McGregor outlanded Holloway. The 25-year-old Dublin native outlanded his Hawaiian opponent in each frame while also going 4-for-5 on takedown attempts.
8: Takedowns landed, in 10 attempts, by Diego Brandao, twice as many as the four he’d landed in his first four UFC appearances combined. The Jackson’s MMA product clinched his unanimous verdict over Daniel Pineda in the final frame, when he landed five takedowns in six attempts.
5-8: Record in bouts that don’t end via submission for Cole Miller, who lost a unanimous decision to Manny Gamburyan in a preliminary featherweight affair. The American Top Team product is 14-0 in contests that end by submission, and six of his eight UFC triumphs have ended via tapout.
58: Seconds needed by James Vick to submit Ramsey Nijem with a guillotine choke, the second fastest finish ever for a debuting lightweight in the UFC. The fastest: Charles Oliveira’s 41-second armbar of Darren Elkins at UFC Live 2 in 2010.