Justin Gaethje delivered the violence on Saturday night.
In the first major sporting event to take place since the coronavirus pandemic hit, Gaethje overwhelmed Tony Ferguson with powerful punches and whipping leg kicks en route to a stoppage at the 3:39 mark of the fifth round in the UFC 249 main event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday night. Thanks to his most complete performance to date, Gaethje has likely set up a future showdown with undisputed lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov.
On a night that gave the world a welcome reprieve from reality, there are plenty of facts and figures to examine. Here is a by-the-numbers look at UFC 249, with statistics courtesy of UFCStats.com.
3: Interim lightweight champions in Ultimate Fighting Championship history following Gaethje’s victory over Ferguson. Ferguson won interim gold at UFC 216 and was later stripped, while Dustin Poirier captured the interim belt at UFC 236 before falling to Khabib Nurmagomedov in a title unification bout at UFC 242.
3:39: Time of Gaethje’s fifth-round finish, making it the fourth-latest stoppage in UFC championship history. Former flyweight king Demetrious Johnson owns the No. 1 and No. 3 spots, with a 4:59 submission of Kyoji Horiguchi in the final frame at UFC 186 and a 3:43 tapout of John Moraga in Round 5 at UFC on Fox 8. Kamaru Usman’s TKO of Colby Covington 4:10 into the fifth round of a welterweight title tilt at UFC 245 checks in as the second-latest stoppage.
143: Significant strikes landed by Gaethje, who landed with astonishing accuracy at 72 percent. Ferguson landed 136 significant strikes at a 45 percent success rate. Gaethje held his most lopsided edge in the decisive fifth frame, when he outlanded Ferguson by a 34-to-14 count.
100: Significant head strikes landed by Gaethje. Ferguson landed just 64 significant strikes to the head, but he did hold a notable 36-to-13 advantage in significant body strikes.
2: Fighters who have successfully defended a championship in two different UFC weight classes. With his second-round TKO of Dominick Cruz in Saturday’s co-main event, Henry Cejudo joined Daniel Cormier as the only two athletes to accomplish that feat. Amanda Nunes will attempt to become the third when she faces Felicia Spencer next month at UFC 250.
.630: Significant striking accuracy for Cejudo, who landed 53 of his 83 attempts against an opponent who is notorious for being difficult to hit. Cruz, meanwhile, landed 33 of 81 significant strikes, a 40 percent success rate.
23: Significant leg strikes landed by Cejudo. By comparison, Cruz landed 10.
1,226: Days since Cruz’s last Octagon appearance, a decision loss to Cody Garbrandt in a title bout at UFC 206 in December 2016.
10: Finishes in UFC competition for Francis Ngannou, a figure that ties him for the fifth-most finishes among heavyweights in the Las Vegas-based promotion’s history.
3: KO/TKO victories in less than a minute for Ngannou, who added Jairzinho Rozenstruik to a list of victims that also includes Cain Velasquez and Curtis Blaydes. Only Anthony Johnson (five) and Vitor Belfort (four) have more. All told, eight of Ngannou’s Octagon triumphs have occurred inside of a round.
4: Finishes in UFC competition since 2017 for Calvin Kattar, who stopped Jeremy Stephens with violent elbow strikes 2:42 into the second round of their featherweight scrap. That figure is the most of anyone in the division during that timeframe.
9: Significant strikes landed by Yorgan De Castro during a stagnant final 10 minutes against Greg Hardy. Overall, Hardy outlanded de Castro by a 55-to-24 count in a relatively uneventful unanimous decision triumph.
35: Octagon appearances for Donald Cerrone, the most of anyone in UFC history. “Cowboy” moved past Jim Miller and into sole possession of first place when he stepped into the cage with Anthony Pettis. “Showtime” defeated Cerrone via unanimous decision in a rematch of their first meeting at UFC on Fox 6 in January of 2013, which Pettis won as well.
149: Total strikes landed by Alexey Oleynik in a split-decision triumph over Fabricio Werdum, who landed 70 in his return from a USADA-mandated absence that spanned more than two years. Oleynik also held a 94-to-53 edge in significant strikes landed.
7: UFC victories for Carla Esparza, who edged Michelle Waterson via split decision in a preliminary strawweight matchup. That ties “Cookie Monster” with Jessica Andrade and Angela Hill for the third-most victories in the history of the division. Only Joanna Jedrzejczyk (10) has more at 115 pounds.
1: Takedown landed in 10 attempts for Esparza, who struggled to implement her wrestling throughout the 15-minute encounter with Waterson. Esparza’s career takedown accuracy rate is 36 percent.
10: Finishes for Vicente Luque in UFC competition, third most in welterweight history behind only Matt Brown (13) and Matt Hughes (11). Luque defeated Niko Price via doctor stoppage in their action-packed rematch at UFC 249 on Saturday night.
7: KO/TKO victories for Luque in UFC competition, third most in welterweight history behind only Brown (11) and Thiago Alves (eight).
259: Combined significant strikes landed by Luque (130) and Price (129). Luque outlanded his opponent 51 to 38 in Round 1, while Price held a 51-to-39 edge in Round 3. Both men landed 40 significant strikes in the second stanza.
5: Submissions attempted by Bryce Mitchell in a dominant unanimous decision triumph over Charles Rosa at featherweight. “Thug Nasty” attempted multiple arm-triangle chokes and twister submissions as he controlled virtually every grappling exchange against his opponent.
14: Guard passes executed by Mitchell against Rosa. Mitchell also went 3-for-3 on takedown attempts while logging an unofficial 13:59 of ground control against “Boston Strong,” who is a black belt in jiu-jitsu.
16: Total point differential on the judges’ scorecards for Mitchell’s victory over Rosa. Mitchell earned scorecards of 30-25, 30-25 and 30-24, making it the fourth-ever UFC fight to feature a scoring difference of 16 or more points, according to MMADecisions.com. The largest divide was 17 for Aleksandar Rakic’s three-round verdict over Justin Ledet at UFC Fight Night 134.
4: Consecutive victories for Ryan Spann following his unanimous decision triumph over Sam Alvey in a preliminary light heavyweight affair. That ties the Fortis MMA product with Magomed Ankalaev and champ Jon Jones for the longest active winning streak in the UFC at 205 pounds.