Fight Facts: UFC 266

By Jay Pettry Sep 27, 2021

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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 dazzled fans in attendance and audiences around the world with its latest massive event. Two champs kept iron grips on their belts, while the people’s main event provided far more action than many anticipated. UFC 266 featured the biggest betting favorite and lock this year, a rematch with historical significance and the most active female fighter in company history reminding fans she is still at the top of her game.

Alex Wants 30: Winning a wild decision over Brian Ortega, Alexander Volkanovski extended his win streak to 20 in a row. The lone defeat for the Aussie came in May 2013 against Corey Nelson, when he fell victim to a head kick early into the third frame.

He’s Going Streaking: Each of Volkanovski’s 10 UFC appearances have ended in victory for the City Kickboxing stalwart. He is now the 11th fighter in organizational history to amass a win streak of 10 or higher.

Seed Money for T-City: Even though he fell short, Ortega earned half of the “Fight of the Night” check for his battle with Volkanovski. In his last six fights, “T-City” has pocketed six post-fight bonuses.

Opportunist Denied: Before facing “The Great,” every time Ortega had attempted at least one submission against an opponent, he won that night. Ortega tried unsuccessfully on three occasions to tap Volkanovski, but the champ thwarted all three tries.

The Novelty Wore Off: Ortega ate 214 significant strikes over the course of his 25-minute encounter with Volkanovski. This is the second time that Ortega has absorbed more than 200 significant strikes in his UFC tenure, as Max Holloway lumped up him for 290 in 2018. “T-City” is now the first fighter in organizational history to have multiple foes land over 200 significant strikes on him.

1-B Pound-for-Pound: Valentina Shevchenko forced the stoppage of Lauren Murphy in the fourth frame, and in the process, scored the first win in Round 4 in UFC women’s divisional history.

Nunes is Up in December: The six successful title defenses for Shevchenko ties the record among all female champions in the UFC previously set by Ronda Rousey. Rousey came into the UFC as the champion and won six times before falling short to Holly Holm.

Seven Titles with a Bullet: “Bullet” is now two championship wins shy of the record for women in the UFC, as she has prevailed in seven title fights overall. Former foe Amanda Nunes holds the top spot with nine.

Line Them Up, Knock Them Down: Shevchenko became the winningest women’s flyweight in company history by putting Murphy away, recording her eighth win as a 125-pound fighter and breaking a tie with Katlyn Chookagian.

Defying Murphy’s Law: The win over Murphy coming by knockout, Shevchenko tied her weight category’s record for the most finishes (five, with Gillian Robertson) and extended her lead for the most knockouts with four.

The Next Will Be That High Too: The flyweight champ closed as a massive -1250 favorite, giving her the highest odds in the UFC in 2021 thus far. Ahead of this fight, Shevchenko was the highest favorite since her 2020 appearance at -1300 against Jennifer Maia.

Shoutout to Nick Baldwin: Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler first met at UFC 47 in April 2004, and rematched in September 2021. The gap between their two meetings totaled 6,386 days, or 209 months.

Old Guard: When Diaz and Lawler fought in 2004, the only two other competitors at UFC 266 that had turned professional at the time were Shevchenko and Roxanne Modafferi. Both women started their MMA careers in 2003.

A Small but Important Distinction: The 17-year separation from initial meeting to rematch is a UFC record for Diaz and Lawler. It does not set the record for the longest distance between rematches overall, as Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock squared off at UFC 5 in 1995, and then at Bellator 149 in 2016.

Knew When to Fold ‘Em: Diaz calling an end to his own fight in the third round is officially the seventh stoppage due to retirement in UFC history. It is the first since Max Rohskopf quit on the stool at UFC on ESPN 11 in 2020, and the first during a round since Lucas Martins bowed out of his 2013 match with Edson Barboza at UFC on FX 7.

The Ruthless Revenge of Robbie: Overcoming Diaz and forcing him to call it quits mid-fight, Lawler is now a perfect 5-0 in rematches. “Ruthless” has faced Falaniko Vitale, Scott Smith, Johny Hendricks, Rory MacDonald and Diaz more than once, and after all five rematches, Lawler had his hand raised, including four by knockout.

I Am the Law(ler): Lawler has once again exceeded the 75% finish rate for his career by stopping Diaz in Round 3. Dating back to 2005, all of Lawler’s stoppage wins ended by knockout.

Across Company Borders: The Stockton, Calif., native has still not prevailed in an MMA bout since October 2011. When Diaz last won as a pro, his opponent remained on the Strikeforce roster, and no other UFC 266 competitor had yet made their organizational debut.

Across Three Divisions: By facing Cynthia Calvillo, Jessica Andrade entered into her 20th UFC fight. She extends her lead for the most bouts of any woman to ever set foot in the Octagon.

Chasing Nunes: Andrade destroyed Calvillo in the first round, and by doing so she recorded her 13th win under the UFC banner. Among women, only Nunes has more, with 14.

Still Chasing Nunes: Seven of Andrade’s 13 wins have come by stoppage, including each of her last four triumphs. She now stands alone with the second-most across all women, with Nunes keeping that top spot with 10.

Pile-Driving Power: Of Andrade’s seven finishes, five have come by knockout following her drubbing of Calvillo. Only one woman (Nunes, with seven) holds more knockouts than “Bate Estaca.”

Happy Birthday to Us: Both Andrade and Chris Daukaus celebrated their birthdays on fight night. Both crushed their opponents by knockout.

Matt Serra Was Proud: Coming back to knock Marlon Moraes out, Merab Dvalishvili earned his first finish since joining the UFC roster. His past six wins had all come by unanimous verdict.

When I Was 22, I Got Involved with the Russian Mafia: Dvalishvili went 4-for-4 in his takedowns against Moraes, further extending his bantamweight record for the most landed. Additionally, with 63 across nine UFC appearances, “The Machine” finds himself in the top 10 for the most in promotional history.

Philly Beatdown: Daukaus laid waste to Shamil Abdurakhimov in the second round to lift his career knockout rate to 92%. Each of the last nine wins for the Philadelphia native has come by knockout within two rounds.

5-0 Getting $50K: Earning “Performance of the Night” honors by blasting Abdurakhimov, each of Daukaus’ last three victories have come with POTN awards attached.

A Truly Happy Warrior: By stepping in the cage with Taila Santos, Modafferi engaged in her 44th professional MMA bout. “The Happy Warrior” has now competed more times than any other woman in the history of the sport, breaking a tie with Masako Yoshida and Satoko Shinashi.

Roxy Rocks: Ten of Modafferi’s career bouts have come in the UFC women’s flyweight division, tying her with Chookagian and Robertson for the most appearances in divisional history.

Said the Spider to the Fly: In just over four minutes, Jalin Turner tapped Uros Medic with a rear-naked choke. “The Tarantula” still celebrates a finish rate of 100% after stopping Medic, with all but two of his wins coming in the first round.

Not Just from a Famous Friend: Nick Maximov is still undefeated at 7-0 after winning a decision over Cody Brundage. Maximov was the only Nick Diaz Academy representative of three to win on the card.

Waaaah Jedi! In 15 seconds, Matthew Semelsberger wrecked Martin Sano with one punch. “Semi the Jedi” notched the sixth-fastest knockout in UFC welterweight history with his win.

He Had the High Ground: Semelsberger became the second fighter in UFC history to record two knockouts of 20 seconds or less, as he previously starched Jason Witt in March. Anthony Johnson is the first, as he smashed Chad Reiner in 2007 and Glover Teixeira in 2016.

GSP Watched JSP Win: Tapping Omar Morales in the second round with a rear-naked choke, Jonathan Pearce upped his finish rate to 91% with his win.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into UFC 266, Ortega (17 fights) and Brundage (seven fights) had never lost on the scorecards; Murphy (19 fights), Calvillo (12 fights) and Morales (12 fights) had never been finished and Medic had never been defeated (seven fights).

Australian National Anthem: For his last two appearances, Volkanovski has walked out to “Down Under” by Men at Work. Volkanovski has won both matches, and the only prior fighter to use this music is Kyle Noke, who picked this track five times over the years.

Flair for the Dramatic: Ortega selected a remix of a song from the film “The Purge” as his walkout tune by Demetrius X, and he emerged with his camp wearing masks reminiscent of the film series. The featherweight title challenger is not the first fighter in UFC history to use sirens from “The Purge” as his entrance audio, as Kron Gracie looped this in his organizational debut.

It's All Taking and No Giving: In an unusual choice for his fight music, Brundage made his debut accompanied by “9 to 5” by country icon Dolly Parton. All three of the fighters in UFC history – Tom Watson, Kevin Croom and now Brundage – have suffered defeats following their Dolly Parton walkouts.

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