Having long clamored for a big-name opponent, James Vick finds himself on a four-fight winning streak in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight division.
Vick will try to cash in on his opportunity when he takes on former World Series of Fighting champion Justin Gaethje in the UFC Fight Night 135 main event on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a first-time headliner, Vick undoubtedly plans to show the MMA universe his steely nerves under the pressure of the spotlight.
Ahead of Vick’s five-round confrontation with Gaethje, here are some of the numbers that have come to define him:
76: Inches of reach. Vick had a six-inch advantage over Francisco Trinaldo, one of the larger lightweights on the UFC roster. He defeated “Massaranduba” by unanimous decision.
94: Significant strikes landed on Glaico Franca at UFC 197, per Fightmetric. Vick’s improving standup was on full display against the Brazilian, as he took a unanimous verdict at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. To further his striking arsenal, the Mineral Wells, Texas, native added taekwondo and Korean karate to his game.
68: Significant strikes landed on Trinaldo. Vick outstruck the Brazilian, even though Trinaldo managed to get the upper hand in the takedown department, where he outpaced “The Ultimate Fighter 15” alum 4-1.
4: Fights in one year to start his professional career in 2011. Vick finished all but one of his opponents and parlayed his early success into a call-up to the UFC. He made his Octagon debut opposite “The Ultimate Fighter 13” finalist Ramsey Nijem at UFC Fight Night 26.
58: Seconds needed to dispatch Nijem with a guillotine choke. Vick has remained on the UFC roster ever since.
6: Victories recorded inside one round. Apart from Nijem, Vick’s other first-round victims were Cody Carillo, Jimmy Taylor, Mike Salazar, Jake Matthews and Marco Polo Reyes.
8: Appearances in his home state of Texas. Vick’s victory over Trinaldo at UFC Fight Night 126 took place at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
3: Wins by knockout or technical knockout. Vick started boxing after his senior year in high school, and his hands have served him well in MMA. He owns knockout victories over Salazar, Reyes and Joseph Duffy.
5: Submission victories on his resume. A Lloyd Irvin-trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt, Vick has two victories by guillotine choke, one by brabo choke, one by rear-naked choke and one by armbar.
5: Wins by decision. Vick went the distance with Trinaldo, Franca, Chris Pecero, Valmir Lazaro and Nick Hein.
1: Career defeat. Vick’s knockout loss to Beneil Dariush at UFC 199 remains the only blemish on his ledger.