Fight Facts: UFC 253

By Jay Pettry Sep 28, 2020

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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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TOTAL NUMBER OF UFC FIGHTS: 5,796
TOTAL NUMBER OF UFC EVENTS: 534

The Ultimate Fighting Championship made its way back out to “Fight Island” with a pay-per-view card capped off with two huge title fights. UFC 253 started slow but ended in a crescendo of violence. The event featured the continuation of a trend for fighters getting title shots in unorthodox fashion, a rare “0 must go” match for a belt and a performance that put Poland back on the map.

Foreign Policy: Through this event practically billed as fighting out of Australia/New Zealand, five Americans faced off against international counterparts. The only U.S.-based fighter to emerge with a win was Brandon Royval. William Knight and Aleksa Camur also squared off, with both men repping the states.

No Shadface Part 2: The championship bout of Israel Adesanya (19-0) vs. Paulo Costa (13-0) is the second men’s title fight in UFC history to take place between two unbeaten fighters.

Virtually Identical: Both the UFC 253 main event and Lyoto Machida-Rashad Evans ended by knockout in the second round. The two finishes came a mere two seconds apart, with this bout ending at 3:59 while Machida scored the finish at 3:57.

Flawless Victory: Adesanya’s knockout of Costa was his 15th as a professional, now accounting for 75 percent of his wins. All 15 of those stoppages came within the first two rounds.

How Far Can They Go? Earning his 20th win in his 20th MMA bout, Adesanya joined an illustrious club that currently includes Yaroslav Amosov (24-0) and Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) for fighters in major organizations with unbeaten records in 20 bouts or more. Although Khusein Askhabov is also 20-0, he does not have any wins in major competition.

The Bonephant in the Room: After Saturday’s light heavyweight championship affair for Jones’ vacant belt, Jones is the first fighter in promotional history to ever surrender his undisputed belt on three separate occasions without ever losing it in a fight.

An Era of Parity? Jan Blachowicz is the first fighter not named Jones or Daniel Cormier to win the UFC title in over a decade. Mauricio Rua won the strap in May 2010 from Machida.

Polish Power Indeed: Poland is the fourth country to celebrate both male and female UFC champions, as Joanna Jedrzejczyk reigned over the women’s strawweight division from 2015 to 2017. The U.S. was first with Ken Shamrock and Ronda Rousey; the second Brazil with Murilo Bustamante and Amanda Nunes; and the third country the Netherlands with Bas Rutten and Germaine de Randamie.

World Flippin’ Domination: With Blachowicz the current light heavyweight king after knocking out Dominick Reyes, the only division that still has an American undisputed champion is the heavyweight division. Every other weight category features a champ from a non-American nation.

Maybe Better Matchmaking is in Order: Reyes dropped a spirited decision to Jones in February, and received a title shot off the loss. Every fighter this year to fight for a belt while coming off a loss – Yoel Romero, Dominick Cruz, Max Holloway, Jose Aldo, Joseph Benavidez, Cormier and now Reyes – has lost that championship bout.

Among Flyweight Royvalty: Earning his fourth submission in his last four victories, Royval tapped Kai Kara France in a thriller. Across the Factory X product’s 12 wins, 11 have come by stoppage within two rounds.

Fighting to His Competition: In his sixth UFC bout, Hakeem Dawodu won his third split decision by edging Zubaira Tukhugov in a close contest. Dawodu tied a number of other fighters for the fifth-most split decision victories, while trailing Benson Henderson, John Howard and Evans (four each) and Gleison Tibau (five).

Still A Fleeting Dream: In a losing effort to Jake Matthews, Diego Sanchez stepped into the Octagon for the 32nd time. This appearance ties “Nightmare” with Andrei Arlovski and Demian Maia for the fourth-most in promotional history. Only Jeremy Stephens (33), Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone (36 each) have fought more times in the UFC.

The Nightmare Never Ends: Twenty-one of Sanchez’ 32 UFC bouts have reached the scorecards, extending his lead for the most judges’ decisions in UFC history.

Klein Kracks: Although he tipped the scales four pounds above the featherweight limit, Ludovit Klein made his successful UFC debut by finishing Shane Young with a head kick and follow-up punches. Sixteen of Klein’s 17 career wins have come by stoppage, with eight by knockout and the other eight by submission – seven of Klein’s last eight victories were knockouts.

Like A Game of Geosafari: Klein is the first fighter from Slovakia to win inside the Octagon.

15 Minutes of Fury: Win or lose, Knight had never before left a fight in the hands of the judges as a professional across nine fights. Knight took a decision over Alexa Camur.

Big Man Choke: Juan Espino returned to the Octagon after a nearly two-year layoff to tap Jeff Hughes with a scarf hold. The move is the fifth in recorded UFC history, and all five have come from heavyweights.

No Country for Old Heavyweights: Espino won Season 28 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” and competed on the same card as TUF Season 1 middleweight conqueror Sanchez for the first time. Despite Espino making his UFC debut over 13 years after Sanchez, the soon-to-be 40 Espino is Sanchez’ elder.

He Will Be There for TUF 30: UFC 253 is not the first time that winners of the first and latest seasons of TUF competed on the same card. Sanchez fought at UFC 235 along with TUF 28 women’s featherweight victor Macy Chiasson. Both Sanchez and Chiasson won on that night by knockout.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into UFC 253, Costa (13 fights) and Camur (six fights) had never lost, Reyes (13 fights) and Young (17 fights) had never been finished and Hughes had never been submitted (14 fights).

‘Raw Dawg’ Likes It Raw: Although a low sample size, every fighter to walk out to a track from Ol’ Dirty Bastard has won their fight inside the Octagon. “Raw Dawg” Royval used “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” and tapped Kara France in the second round.

Season Ticket on a One-Way Ride: Klein made his short-notice debut with “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC playing behind him. Although fighters walking out to AC/DC tracks sport the lowest win percentage of any artist with over 25 recorded uses, “Highway to Hell” by itself now boasts a win percentage of .778.

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