Fight Facts: UFC 254

By Jay Pettry Oct 26, 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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The Ultimate Fighting Championship went all-out with a pay-per-view offering to conclude its second stint on Fight Island. With thrilling performances and dramatic moments, this early-hours event delivered from bell to bell. UFC 254 featured the unexpected final chapter from one of the best fighters to ever compete in the sport, a rare doctor stoppage among female fighters and the definitive end to a bitter rivalry.

Quick Six: Six fights ended in the first round at UFC 254, one shy of the record, held by six events, for the most in the modern era.

For Abdulmanap: By finishing Justin Gaethje, Khabib Nurmagomedov improved his spotless record to 29-0, far and away the most substantial undefeated record among all major MMA fighters.

Master of All He Surveys: Nurmagomedov is the sixth fighter in UFC history to win 13 fights in a row, and the first lightweight to do so – although two bouts in that span came at catchweights. Nurmagomedov joins Jon Jones, Demetrious Johnson, Georges St. Pierre and Max Holloway with 13 each, while Anderson Silva stands alone with 16 consecutive UFC triumphs.

The Luckiest 13: Never losing in the UFC, the 13 straight wins for Nurmagomedov are second only to Silva for the longest unbeaten streak to start a UFC career.

And on to the Next Champ: Although two of three were unification matches and not strictly defenses, Nurmagomedov tied Penn, Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson for the most defenses of a UFC lightweight strap.

It’s Like Heavyweight: Finishing three opponents in a row by submission all in championship bouts, Nurmagomedov is tied with B.J. Penn, Daniel Cormier, Jones, Matt Hughes and Ronda Rousey for the third-most submissions in UFC title fights. Only Frank Shamrock (four) and Johnson (five) have performed more inside the Octagon.

Missed the Tap There, Bud: “The Eagle” is the first fighter to ever put their opponent to sleep with a triangle choke in a UFC title fight. He is the third to ever pull off this specific maneuver when vying for a belt, joining Silva and Tony Ferguson.

The Greatest Lightweight? With a championship reign of 931 days and counting until he officially relinquishes his title, Nurmagomedov held the lightweight strap longer than any other man. B.J. Penn held that record before Nurmagomedov came along, keeping it for 812 days from 2008 to 2010.

We Vehemently Disagree: Two of three cageside judges awarded Gaethje the first round, making him just the second UFC fighter to ever win a single round against Nurmagomedov on a majority of the scorecards. Conor McGregor won the third round of their UFC 229 meeting in 2018 before getting submitted.

Toes Like Daggers: Alexander Volkov dismantled Walt Harris with a front kick to the body in the second round of their heavyweight tilt. Volkov’s knockout is the third in divisional history stemming from a body kick, and the fifth from any strike to the body.

Megatron Transformed: In just 18 seconds, Phil Hawes laid waste to the previously undefeated Jacob Malkoun. All nine wins for “Megatron” have ended by finish, with seven knockouts to his credit.

The NJBA: New Jersey native Hawes’ 18-second demolition ties Phil Baroni’s 18-second beating of Dave Menne for the fifth-quickest knockout in UFC middleweight history. Mark Weir stands atop the list after dispatching Eugene Jackson in 10 seconds at UFC 38 in 2002.

Skill, Not Luck: Submitting replacement opponent Liliya Shakirova in the second round with a rear-naked choke, Lauren Murphy earned her first career victory by submission. Before this bout, “Lucky” had never even attempted one in the UFC.

And Her Name Is Lauren: Murphy’s win as a flyweight is her fifth, tying Valentina Shevchenko and Gillian Robertson for the most in divisional history.

Hulk Got Smashed: Closing the door on controversy, Magomed Ankalaev knocked Ion Cutelaba out cold in the first round. Ankalaev has won four of his last five bouts by knockout, while earning three “Performance of the Night” bonuses including one for this drubbing of Cutelaba.

Maybe Don’t Do a Shoey During a Pandemic: Tai Tuivasa loosed an uppercut in the last second of the first round to knock Stefan Struve out. Nine of the Aussie’s ten career wins have come by knockout, with all nine taking place in the opening frame. “Bam Bam” is now the fifth UFC heavyweight to score a knockout with a single second left in the round.

Tearing Down the Skyscraper: The knockout loss was Struve’s eighth in the division, tying Frank Mir and Gabriel Gonzaga for the most in UFC heavyweight history.

Casey Catchweight: Once the Tachi Palace Fights and Legacy Fighting Alliance flyweight champion, Casey Kenney has now been involved in three UFC catchweight bouts above the bantamweight limit. Kenney has won all three by unanimous decision, after beating Nathaniel Wood on the scorecards in the “Fight of the Night.”

Now Fight Khamzat: Tapping out Alex Oliveira with a first-round guillotine choke, Kazakhstani newcomer Shavkat Rakhmonov is now a perfect 13-0. All 13 of his career wins have come before judges were involved, with 12 concluding in the first two rounds.

Alvey Can’t Catch A Break: Fighting to even scorecards at the end of three rounds, the draw between Da Un Jung and Sam Alvey is the fifth in 2020. The only year in the UFC to see more draws is 2016, when seven came about.

Maverick Missiles: Miranda Maverick battered Liana Jojua with elbows to slash open Jojua’s nose and force a doctor stoppage at the end of the first round. It is just the third doctor stoppage among all UFC women’s divisions, and the first at flyweight.

Nobody Expects the Spanish Submission! In the card opener, Joel Alvarez submitting Alexander Yakovlev in three minutes with an armbar. All 18 of the Spaniard’s wins have come inside the distance, with 16 of those now by submission.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into UFC 254, Gaethje had never been submitted (24 fights), Shakirova had never been finished (nine fights) and Wood had never lost on the scorecards (21 fights).

It Came Out Three Months After He Was Born: Tuivasa once again changed up his walkout tune, this time selecting 90s hit “Dreams” by Gabrielle. As he has after walking out to 1990s-era pop artists like Celine Dion and Daryl Braithwaite, Tuivasa won emphatically.

The Greatest Band in the World: After several uses throughout UFC history, Maverick is the first recorded fighter to walk out to “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin and win her fight. Fighters including Jessica Eye and Jim Miller came out to it over the years but never managed to win after it played.

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