Fight Facts: UFC 241

By Jay Pettry Aug 20, 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.

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday in Anaheim, California, wrapped up a nine-week marathon of events by going big with a rematch for the heavyweight title. UFC 241 featured a record-setting headliner, a smashing machine learning what three hard-fought rounds feels like and one of the biggest betting upsets in company history.

AND YET IT DIDN’T FEEL THAT LONG: Nine of the 12 fights on the card reached the scorecards, one decision shy of the record held by eight different events.

STIPE HAD LIVER FOR DINNER: By combining for an incredible 304 significant strikes, Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic set the record for the most significant strikes landed in a UFC heavyweight bout.

IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP ROUNDS: In getting the finish at 4:09 of Round 4, Miocic scored the first fourth-round stoppage in a UFC heavyweight title fight and the fourth among all heavyweight bouts. Derrick Lewis, Mark Hunt and Alexander Volkov have all previously secured fourth-round knockouts in their respective UFC careers.

FIRST TIME … AGAIN: Miocic became the first fighter to officially finish “DC” when he stopped him with punches in the fourth round. Although Jon Jones did knock out Cormier with a head kick and follow-up punches at UFC 214, that result was overturned to a no-contest after Jones tested positive for turinabol.

KEEP DOING THAT: After earning a “Performance of the Night” bonus for his comeback win over Cormier, five of Miocic’s last seven bouts have resulted in his winning a post-fight bonus. In fact, each of his five most recent knockout victories have earned him bonus money.

HIGH TIME TO COME DOWN FROM THE SHELF: Returning from a nearly three-year layoff, Nate Diaz battered Anthony Pettis on his way to a unanimous decision in the co-main event. This return after a lengthy absence is reminiscent of Dominick Cruz coming back after almost three years away to knock out Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 178 in 2014, although Diaz was not away due to injury.

A REAL OG: When Diaz made his Octagon debut by winning Season 5 of “The Ultimate Fighter” in June 2007, only three of the 23 other fighters that competed at UFC 241 had taken their first MMA fights. At that time, Sabina Mazo had turned 10 a few months prior.

A NEW GEAR: In remaining unbeaten at 13-0 by taking a close decision over Yoel Romero, Paulo Henrique Costa earned the first decision win of his career. His previous 12 bouts had all ended with him finishing his opponent.

WELCOME TO THE OCTAGON: Khama Worthy made his UFC debut on extremely short notice, knocking out his friend and former training partner Devonte Smith to spring a monumental upset. Smith closed as a -1000 favorite against the comeback for Worthy at +650, making this one of the biggest betting upsets in UFC history and the largest since +725 Frankie Saenz beat Iuri Alcantara (-925) on the scorecards at UFC Fight Night 61 in 2015.

HE ESCAPED ‘THE BERMUDEZ TRIANGLE’: Casey Kenney handed Manny Bermudez his first career loss when he beat him on the scorecards. Prior to his loss, “The Bermudez Triangle” had won each of his 14 fights since making his MMA debut in 2015, including 12 stoppage victories.

BETTER CATCH UP: The organization decided to move the fight between Kenney and Bermudez from bantamweight to a 140-pound catchweight the day before weigh-ins. It was the first intentionally scheduled catchweight bout since Alexander Volkanovski faced Shane Young at 150 pounds at UFC Fight Night 121 in 2017.

GAINING 25 POUNDS IN A DAY?: According to ESPN, Bermudez weighed 164.8 pounds on fight day, holding a nearly 20-pound weight advantage on Kenney, who hit the scales at 145 pounds on fight day. Following this news, the promotion decided to make Bermudez move to featherweight going forward, even after his loss.

SEE YOU IN INVICTA: When Jodie Esquibel dropped a decision to Hannah Cifers, she became the third female fighter -- Jessica Eye and Tecia Torres are the others -- to lose four fights at the hands of the judges and the first to start her UFC career with four straight decision losses.

BUILT FOR 15: After going the distance with Cifers, 10 of Esquibel’s 12 career bouts have gone three full rounds. She holds one first-round knockout win in her pro debut and a first-round submission loss to Alex Chambers at Invicta Fighting Championships 5 in 2013.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into UFC 241, Costa had never fought beyond the second round (12 fights), Romero had never lost consecutive bouts (16 fights) and Ian Heinisch had never lost on the scorecards (14 fights).

A WINNER’S MENTALITY: Three fighters at UFC 241 walked out to songs with the words “victory” or “win” in their titles, and all three came out on top. Derek Brunson used “Victory Lap” by Nipsey Nussle, Cory Sandhagen used “Victory Lap” by Macklemore and Drakkar Klose used “Win” by Jay Rock.

I’D BE SAFE AND WARM IF I WAS IN L.A.: Esquibel made the unorthodox-yet-appropriate walkout music choice of “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas and the Papas, making this event the first to hear a walkout song from that band. Esquibel lost.

Sherdog contributing editor Jay Pettry is an attorney and a statistician. Writing about MMA since he started studying the “Eminem Curse” in 2012 and working 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.
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