Fight Facts: UFC 234

By Jay Pettry Feb 11, 2019

Fight Facts is a breakdown of all of the interesting information and Octagon oddities on every card, with some puns, references and portmanteaus to keep things fun. These deep stat dives delve into the numbers, providing historical context and telling the stories behind those numbers.

* * *


The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday lost its headliner for UFC 234 mere hours before the event started but still managed to produce an event full of excitement and action. It featured every betting favorite winning, a fighter who has been on the marquee than any other and a couple of pure finishers doing what they do best.

THEY NAILED IT: In the 11 fights at UFC 234, 10 betting favorites won. The remaining bout, Ricky Simon-Rani Yahya, closed with pick-’em odds.

PASSING OF THE TORCH: After defeating Anderson Silva by decision, Israel Adesanya remained undefeated at 16-0 and has gone the distance three times in those wins. Only three fighters on the roster have better unbeaten records than Adesanya: Ben Askren (18-0), Alexey Kunchenko (20-0) and Khabib Nurmagomedov (27-0).

BONUSBENDER: After earning “Fight of the Night” for his battle against Silva, Adesanya has now won four post-fight bonuses in his five UFC appearances. This includes only one of eight “Performance of the Night” bonuses awarded after a decision win, when he topped Brad Tavares on the scorecards at “The Ultimate Fighter 27” Finale in 2018.

MAIN MAN: Competing in his 20th main event, Silva extended his record for the most headlining assignments of any fighter in UFC history. Only two other fighters have competed in at least 15 main events: Tito Ortiz (16) and Randy Couture (18).

NOT HIS FIRST RODEO: This was not the first time Silva stepped into a main event after the original headliner fell through. At UFC 153, the original main event was scheduled to be Jose Aldo-Eric Koch for the featherweight strap. Koch was replaced by Frankie Edgar after an injury and then Aldo suffered an injury of his own, so Silva was elevated to a three-round main event against Stephan Bonnar.

FUNKY FOUR: The Ultimate Fighting Championship implemented five-round main events starting at UFC 138 in 2011, when Chris Leben faced Mark Munoz. Since then, only four events have put on three-round headliners due to card rearranging: UFC 153, UFC on Fuel TV 9, UFC 161 and UFC 234.

TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN: Throughout his 23-fight UFC career, Silva has never fought lower than the third slot on the main card, which he did only one time: against Daniel Cormier at UFC 200. Notably, Silva’s promotional debut in 2006 against Leben was billed as the main event, but it was not the final bout of the show. That distinction went to the “Fight of the Night” battle between Jonathan Goulet and Luke Cummo.

ADDICTED TO THE THRILL: In earning “Fight of the Night” honors despite dropping a decision to Adesanya, Silva pocketed his 14th post-fight bonus, tying Charles Oliveira for the fourth-most in UFC history. They trail Nate Diaz (15), Joe Lauzon (15) and Donald Cerrone (16).

SAVORING THE MOMENT: Despite holding a career finish rate of 77 percent, Silva has gone the distance in each of his last five bouts. This stretch is far longer than any before in his career. Prior to this streak, he had never reached the scorecards in more than two fights in a row.

MOVIN’ TO MONTANA SOON: In tapping Nadia Kassem by second-round armbar, Montana De La Rosa picked up her third win in the UFC women’s flyweight division, tying her with Jessica Eye and Joanne Calderwood for the most wins in the division’s short history. She now holds the most finishes (three) at 125 pounds, as well.

DE LA RONDA: De La Rosa joined Ronda Rousey and Paige VanZant as the only female fighters to ever submit multiple opponents with armbars. De La Rosa previously tapped Christina Marks with one at “The Ultimate Fighter 26” Finale in 2017.

SLIPPIN’ JIMMY STRIKES AGAIN: Although the result was controversial, Jim Crute knocked out Sam Alvey in the first round of their bout. Crute improved his undefeated record to 10-0 and has finished his opponent in seven of those wins, including six in the first round.

KAGE KILLER: After knocking out Dong Hyun Ma in the first round, Devonte Smith has still never gone the distance in his career. Finishing his opponent in all 10 of his wins, “King Kage” has knocked out nine of those.

JALIN TURNER OVERDRIVE: When he knocked out Callan Potter 53 seconds into the first round, Jalin Turner kept his finish rate at 100 percent, with all eight of his victories coming by first-round stoppage.

TUF TURF: The nixed middleweight title fight between Robert Whittaker (“The Smashes”) and Kelvin Gastelum (Season 17) would have been the second championship bout in UFC history to take place between two fighters won won their seasons of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The first took place at UFC 92 between Season 1 winner Forrest Griffin and Season 2 winner Rashad Evans.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into UFC 234, Silva had never competed in Australia (43 fights across seven countries), Kassem had never been defeated (five fights) and Raulian Paiva Frazao had never lost on the scorecards (19 fights, 12 decision wins).

’CAUSE WE DON’T PLAY: Returning to a song that gave him great success throughout his career, Silva walked out to “No Sunshine” by DMX, although he dropped a decision to Adesanya. In his last bout with Derek Brunson, Silva changed his song to “Doom” by his son Kalyl. Throughout his career, he has walked out to “No Sunshine” 18 times, celebrating a record of 12-5 with one no-contest.

NO BIGGIE: Fighters throughout the years have walked out to tracks by Notorious B.I.G. over 70 times, but Kassem became the first fighter to ever walk out to “Spit Your Game” featuring Twista and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Kassem was unsuccessful in her outing against De La Rosa, losing by submission.

Jay Pettry is an attorney and a statistician. Writing about MMA since he started studying the “Eminem Curse” in 2012, and writing for Vice Sports and Combat Docket along the way, he put together many fight result and entrance music databases to better study the sport. You can find him on Twitter at @jaypettry.
<h2>Fight Finder</h2>