By the Numbers: UFC on ESPN 21 Pre-Fight Edition

By Brian Knapp Mar 17, 2021


Vying for the same piece of prime real estate in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight division, Derek Brunson and Kevin Holland will lock horns in the UFC on ESPN 21 headliner this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Brunson, 37, enters the cage on the strength of a three-fight winning streak. The Sanford MMA rep last appeared at UFC Fight Night 173, where he brought down the previously unbeaten Edmen Shahbazyan with punches in the third round of their Aug. 1 pairing. Holland, meanwhile, has rattled off five consecutive victories. The 28-year-old Travis Lutter protégé last competed at UFC 256 on Dec. 12, when he laid waste to onetime Strikeforce champion Ronaldo Souza with first-round punches.

As UFC on ESPN “Brunson vs. Holland” approaches, a look at some of the numbers the fighters on the card have generated to this point:

12: Brunson victories as a UFC middleweight, tying him with Chris Leben for seventh on the promotion’s all-time list. Only Michael Bisping (16), Anderson Silva (14), Nate Marquardt (13), Thales Leites (13), Yushin Okami (13) and Brad Tavares (13) have more.

149: Clinch strikes landed by Holland in his unanimous decision over Alessio Di Chirico at UFC Fight Night 154 on June 22, 2019, setting an all-time single-fight record for the middleweight division. It broke the previous mark of 129, established by Jorge Rivera in a unanimous decision over David Loiseau at UFC 44 some 16 years earlier.

21: Seconds needed for four-time NCAA All-American wrestler Gregor Gillespie to punch out Andrew Holbrook at UFC 210 on April 8, 2017. Having occurred in his second appearance inside the Octagon, it remains the fastest finish of his 14-fight career. Gillespie confronts Brad Riddell in the lightweight co-main event.

5: Countries in which Riddell has competed as a professional mixed martial artist. The City Kickboxing export has gone 3-0 in China, 2-1 in Australia, 2-0 in his native New Zealand, 1-0 in Myanmar and 1-0 in the United Arab Emirates.

9: Tai Tuivasa wins by knockout or technical knockout, accounting for 90% of his career total (10). His list of victims includes Stefan Struve, Cyril Asker, Rashad Coulter and James McSweeney. “Bam Bam” posted his only other victory by decision. Tuivasa, 28, locks horns with Don’Tale Mayes in a three-round heavyweight showcase.

1: Regional championship on the Mayes mantle. The 29-year-old Louisville, Kentucky, native captured the Hoosier Fight Club heavyweight title when he struck Arnold Adams into submission in the fifth round of their June 2016 encounter.

7: Promotions in which bantamweight prospect Adrian Yanez has competed in his 15-fight career. He has gone 4-0 in Fury Fighting Championship, 3-2 in Legacy Fighting Alliance, 1-1 in Legacy Fighting Championship, 1-0 in the UFC, 1-0 in Dana White’s Contender Series, 1-0 in Bellator MMA and 1-0 in Texas City Throwdown. Yanez takes on Gustavo Lopez in a featured clash at 135 pounds.

6: Lopez victories by submission, accounting for 50% of his professional total. His methods of choice: two rear-naked chokes, one arm-triangle choke, one guillotine choke, one armbar and one shoulder choke. Lopez owns five other wins by knockout and another by decision.

159: Combined victories between the eight men—Alex Oliveira, Alex Morono, Thiago Alves, Curtis Millender, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, Colby Covington, Chidi Njokuani and Justin Baesman—who have defeated Max Griffin. The former two-division West Coast Fighting Championship titleholder tackles Kenan Song in a three-round welterweight feature.

10: First-round finishes on the Song resume. They include his 15-second knockout of Bobby Nash in his UFC Fight Night 122 organizational debut on Nov. 25, 2017. It ranks as the sixth-fastest finish in the history of the UFC welterweight division.

214: Days since Cheyanne Buys was awarded a UFC contract following her unanimous decision over Hilarie Rose on Dana White’s Contender Series. The 25-year-old taekwondo black belt debuts inside the Octagon against Montserrat Ruiz in a three-round strawweight tilt.

61: Inches of reach for Ruiz, putting her at a two-inch disadvantage against Buys.

43: Years of age for Marion Reneau. The oldest fighter on the card, she was born in Tulare, California, on June 20, 1977. “Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope” was in its fifth week of release at the time. Reneau draws “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 28 winner Macy Chiasson in the featured prelim.

24: Years of age for J.P. Buys. The youngest fighter on the card, he was born on April 30, 1996 in Brakpan, South Africa—more than 10,000 miles from Ultimate Fighting Championship headquarters. Buys makes his promotional debut opposite Bruno Silva on the undercard.

.775: Cumulative winning percentage between the 24 fighters scheduled to compete at the event. They own a combined record of 272-73-6. Brunson and Holland own the most wins (21) of any fighter on the card, while Griffin has been saddled with the most losses (eight).
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