Fight Facts: UFC 251

By Jay Pettry Jul 13, 2020

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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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TOTAL NUMBER OF UFC FIGHTS: 5,664
TOTAL NUMBER OF UFC EVENTS: 522

The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday kicked off a run at the now-realized Fight Island with UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Headlined by a trio of title fights, the event featured a mind-boggling striking total, a winning streak in the Octagon not seen frequently and an unexpected championship unification.

EIGHT-HOUR TOURISM COMMERCIAL: The UFC put on its first event on the recently titled Fight Island, which was placed on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This was not the first time the promotion has held a card at this location, however, as three cards—UFC 112, UFC Fight Night 39 and UFC 242—all took place there in different venues.

UFC 33 ALL OVER AGAIN: The fight card lasted a whopping 3:07:27 across 13 fights, becoming the longest in organization history. With three title fights each going into the fifth round or to the scorecards, the event broke the record—it was set at UFC Fight Night 121 in 2017—by about three minutes. That show in Australia only had one five-round bout booked, but a record 10 fights went to judges’ decision.

A HARD DAY’S NIGHT: UFC 251 was the sixth event in promotional history to be topped by three championship bouts. It was also the third where each title fight went into the fifth round, joining UFC 33 and UFC 245. Kamaru Usman also headlined the latter, with Alexander Volkanovski facing Max Holloway in the co-main event.

STILL A PROBLEM: In taking a one-sided decision over Jorge Masvidal, Usman extended his winning streak inside the Octagon to 12. In doing so, he slid into sixth place for the longest such streak in UFC history, along with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. Nurmagomedov’s remains active.

11 OF THOSE FOR GSP WERE TITLE FIGHTS: By winning 12 welterweight bouts in a row, Usman ties Georges St. Pierre for the longest stretch of wins in divisional history.

A LITTLE LINEAL FUN: Although the “BMF” title was not handed to Usman for his win over Masvidal, its lineal status transferred to “The Nigerian Nightmare.” In doing so, Usman unified the UFC welterweight belt, “BMF” strap and the “Fight Master” throne. The latter came from the short-lived Bellator MMA reality show “Fight Master,” where Joe Riggs won the inaugural championship. It passed in a lineal fashion over to the UFC.

BLESSING EVERYONE WITH PUNCHES: Albeit in a losing effort, Holloway passed the 100 significant strike threshold again by landing 102 on Volkanovski. Extending his own record, this is the 11th time he has done so, with each of his last seven outings having seen the Hawaiian land at least 100 significant strikes.

THE MAN IS A MACHINE: The addition of 102 significant strikes adds to Holloway’s record total of 2,173, well ahead of the next closest fighter: Joanna Jedrzejczyk, with 1,711.

SHOWED NO MERCY: With the stoppage coming at 3:24 of the fifth round, Petr Yan beat Jose Aldo to win the vacant bantamweight belt. Yan’s finish is the ninth-latest in promotional history and the latest in the bantamweight division’s history.

YAN CAN FIGHT: Yan is now the second fighter in organizational history born in Russia to earn a UFC belt, joining Nurmagomedov. Although Andrei Arlovski was born in what is now known as Belarus, it was a Soviet republic at the time and not Russia itself.

PILE DRIVING THROUGH THE ROSTER: Even though she lost, Jessica Andrade improved upon her record for the most bouts of any female fighter, as she stepped into the Octagon for the 17th time against Rose Namajunas.

MAYBE TRY FLYWEIGHT: Andrade’s decision loss to Namajunas marked the sixth time she has been defeated in the UFC cage. Only four female fighters—Randa Markos (seven), Jessica Eye (seven), Cortney Casey (seven) and Angela Hill (eight)—have lost more times under the UFC banner.

125-POUND ARM COLLECTORS: Amanda Ribas hit an armbar on Paige VanZant at 2:21 of the first round, earning the fifth-fastest finish in UFC women’s flyweight history. Four of those five came from armbars.

PASSED WITH FLYING COLORS: After crushing Volkan Oezdemir in the second frame, Jiri Prochazka lifted his finish rate to 96 percent. Twenty-four of his 27 career victories have come by knockout, with each of his last nine fights ending via strikes.

KUNG FU FIGHTING FOR 15 MINUTES: For the third time in his career, Muslim Salikhov went the distance. “The King of Kung Fu” has won two consecutive decisions in the UFC, decreasing his stoppage rate to 82 percent.

NUKKUA: By securing an anaconda choke that put Danny Henry to sleep, Makwan Amirkhani became the third fighter in organizational history to pull off multiple anaconda chokes. Phil Davis and Charles Oliveira were the first two. However, “Mr. Finland” is the only one of those three to render an opponent unconscious with the maneuver.

MAKWAN HUGHES: Amirkhani is now the sixth UFC fighter to force the referee to intervene due to an anaconda choke. With his finish coming in the first round, five of those six have taken place in the opening stanza. Matt Hughes’ technical submission over Ricardo Almeida also clocked in at exactly 3:15.

TAKE ALL THE POINTS: Leonardo Santos captured a foul-filled decision over Roman Bogatov to extend his unbeaten streak to 13 fights. Santos last lost in May 2009, and at the time, only four fighters competing at this event had made their pro debuts.

DOES NOT LIKE JUDGES: Davey Grant starched Martin Day in the third round to picking up his second career stoppage with strikes. The British bantamweight advanced his finish rate to 83 percent with his victory, and all four of his defeats have come by tapout.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into UFC 251, Andrade (27 fights), Henry (15 fights) and Day (11 fights) had never lost consecutive bouts, Prochazka had never ended a fight in the second round (26 finishes) and Bogatov had never been defeated (10 fights).

WHERE’S MY VEGEMITE SANDWICH?: Volkanovski changed up his walkout tune to “Down Under” by Men at Work before rematching Holloway. With five recorded uses of this track over the years—and the previous four all came courtesy of Kyle Noke—fighters competing after using this track sport a winning percentage of 80 percent.

YEAH, YEAH, YEAH: For the second event in a row, a fighter walked to an Elton John walkout song that had never before been utilized in the UFC. Andrade used “I’m Still Standing” by the legendary musician and dropped a decision. At UFC on ESPN 12, Kyle Daukaus selected “Philadelphia Freedom” and likewise lost on the scorecards.

DRUID THINGS: In each of her four trips to the Octagon, Ribas made her walk accompanied by “Fee Ra Huri” by pagan folk band Omnia out of the Netherlands. She has won all four bouts.

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