Fight Facts: UFC 244

Fight Facts is a breakdown of all 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 at Madison Square Garden in New York staged its 500th event, with the symbolic BMF title on the line in the headliner. UFC 244 featured a rare kind of stoppage in a main event, a head kick duet and the rise of a scary new heavyweight contender.

A SERIOUS MILESTONE: UFC 244 was the 500th event the Ultimate Fighting Championship has promoted. No other major organization in history has approached that number of shows, with the next highest amount being from Bellator MMA with 234.

ONE ORG TO RULE THEM ALL: If every event for Bellator, One Championship, Pride Fighting Championships, Strikeforce and World Extreme Cagefighting had been held under the same banner, that super organization would total 521 shows.

FLIP A COIN: Four fights throughout the course of the event closed as pick-’ems, with odds putting both combatants as favorites. This is the most since UFC Fight Night 101 in 2016, when four bouts closed with practically even odds.

STICK TO SPORTS: President Trump was in attendance for UFC 244, along with members of his family and other dignitaries. He is the first sitting United States president to ever attend a major MMA event.

ODE TO THE HEAD KICK: UFC 244 marked the sixth event in promotional history to ever feature multiple head kick knockouts. Kevin Lee and Edmen Shahbazyan recorded crushing knockouts via head kick throughout the night.

CUT ME, MICK: The main event was the eighth in company history to end when a doctor intervened, whether for abrasions or other damage. Four of those eight have taken place dating back to 2015, with Lee, Carlos Condit and Max Holloway also recording doctor stoppage wins in headlining appearances along the way.

HOW MANY ELBOWS DOES IT TAKE …: Jorge Masvidal became the second fighter to ever finish 32-fight veteran Nate Diaz via knockout or technical knockout when the doctor stopped the fight at the end of Round 3 due to cuts. The first was Josh Thomson, who did so with a head kick and follow-up punches at UFC on Fox 7 in 2013.

SPEAKING OF 500: The split verdict that Darren Till took over Kelvin Gastelum marked the 500th split decision in company history.

LUQUE BE GETTING LUCRATIVE: The “Fight of the Night” at this event was between Stephen Thompson and Vicente Luque, with Thompson taking a decision win. The FOTN was Luque’s third in his last four bouts.

BREAK OUT THE OXYGEN: Derrick Lewis’ decision victory over Blagoy Ivanov was only the third in his 22-win career. Eighteen of his wins have come by knockout.

PLENTY OF TIME OFF FOR FISHING NOW: Gregor Gillespie suffered his first career defeat when Lee separated him from his consciousness with a head kick. “The Gift” was unbeaten in 13 bouts prior to that loss, with 11 stoppages, including five straight inside the Octagon.

LOOK AT ANIMALS, TAKE WALK: On the losing end of a first-round drubbing from Corey Anderson, Johnny Walker only landed one strike. All four of Walker’s career defeats have come inside the distance, and he has only reached the scorecards once.

SOLDIER OF EDMOND: After lifting his unblemished record to 11-0 with a first-round head kick knockout of Brad Tavares, Shahbazyan has now finished 10 of his opponents in the opening period.

ROZENSTRIKER: Jairzinho Rozenstruik improved his undefeated record to 9-0 by starching Andrei Arlovski in less than 30 seconds. Eight of those nine wins have come by knockout, including each of his last four.

HEY BIG GUY, SUN’S GETTIN’ REAL LOW: Arlovski’s bout with Rozenstruik was his 31st under the UFC banner, extending his own record for the most appearances in UFC heavyweight history. No active heavyweight with the promotion is remotely close to that total.

ARLOSTSKI: The knockout loss for Arlovski was his seventh inside the Octagon, tying four other fighters for the third-most in company history. Only Frank Mir and Gabriel Gonzaga have more, with eight apiece.

15-MINUTE BLONDE TREATMENT: In taking a decision over Jennifer Maia, Katlyn Chookagian earned her 10th win on the scorecards in 13 career victories. With her victory, “Blonde Fighter” lowered her finish rate to 23 percent. She has gone to the judges in each of her last eight outings, winning six of them.

MODERATION, MAIA: Maia came in 1.2 pounds heavier than the flyweight cap and dropped a decision to Chookagian. This is the second fight in a row for which she has come in heavy, and she becomes only the third female fighter in organizational history to miss weight twice. The first two to do so were Alexis Dufresne and Ji Yeon Kim.

THE BACKUP NEEDS A BACKUP: Jared Cannonier was attempting to serve as a backup for the co-main event in case something happened to Gastelum or Till. When he attempted to make weight the day before, he tipped the scales above the middleweight limit at 186.8 pounds but still hopes to get paid for his attempt.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into UFC 244, Makwan Amirkhani (18 fights) and Chance Rencountre (17 fights) had never been knocked out, Gastelum had never lost consecutive bouts (20 fights) and Amirkhani had never competed outside of Europe.

25-PERCENT CURSED: Diaz used a four-song mashup for his walkout music, starting with “Used To” by Drake, then moving to “Trained to Go” by E40. From there, he tempted fate briefly by using “The Way I Am” by Eminem before concluding with 2Pac’s “Out on Bail.” Diaz lost by third-round stoppage.

IT’S A HARD ROAD TO HEAVEN: Lee walked out to a new track from Kanye West’s recent release of “Jesus Is King” titled "Use This Gospel" featuring Clipse and Kenny G, becoming the first fighter to use a track from the album, which was released the week prior. Lee won by devastating knockout.
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