Fight Facts: UFC 291 ‘Poirier vs. Gaethje 2’

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 built up a fight card that promised action and intensity, and it delivered above and beyond throughout the violent night. Fans in Salt Lake City and those watching on their screens got their money’s worth with the nine finishes in 11 fights. UFC 291 featured unexpectedly sweet revenge for one headliner, a dramatic reminder that “The Black Beast” is not to be trifled with and the emergence of one more dangerous contender in the welterweight division.

No One Cared: For the second time in its history, the UFC offered up its symbolic “BMF” belt to the victor of a main event. This trophy first went to Jorge Masvidal at the end of UFC 244 in 2019, and Masvidal presented it to triumphant man at night’s end.

The Hunted Becomes the Hunter: Early into the second round, Justin Gaethje lamped Dustin Poirier with a head kick to avenge a 2018 loss. “The Highlight” now posts a knockout rate of 80% as a pro, with six of his eight victories in the Octagon coming via strikes.

Satisfaction Guaranteed: Picking up a “Performance of the Night” check by starching Poirier, Gaethje earned his 12th since joining the roster in 2017. He now celebrates 12 bonuses after 12 UFC outings, with only seven men holding more in company history.

Poatight One: Moving up to light heavyweight, ex-185-pound champ Alex Pereira picked up the split nod over Jan Blachowicz. It marked just the second time in Pereira’s brief MMA career that he had gone the distance.

Degeneration X: In 33 seconds, Derrick Lewis put Marcos Rogerio de Lima away with a jump knee and a long series of follow-up punches. Lewis is now the proud owner of 14 knockouts in the Octagon, reclaiming his top spot and snapping the tie with Matt Brown.

All Gas: The 33-second smashing for Lewis is quickest across his illustrious career. His record before that was a 46-second drubbing of Jay Peche in 2011, while his fastest as a UFC fighter came at 2:17 against Damian Grabowski in 2016.

No Brakes: All 14 of Lewis’ stoppages in the promotion have come via knockout. By putting away “Pezao,” Lewis also earned the most finish victories in UFC heavyweight history, surpassing Frank Mir’s 13.

The Bonus Beast: With his dramatic finish in the books, Lewis claimed his eighth post-fight bonus. This puts him one shy of divisional leader Stipe Miocic, while tying him with former foe Stefan Struve.

Forgotten Technique: Bobby Green landed an arm-triangle choke and put Tony Ferguson out with six seconds left in the fight. This marked his first submission triumph since he tapped Jacob Volkman at UFC 156 in 2013, and at that time, 12 of the other 21 fighters at UFC 291 had yet to make their pro debuts.

Once More unto the Breach: Going out on his shield against Green, Ferguson has now lost six straight fights. One more loss in the Octagon would tie the record set by B.J. Penn, who dropped seven in a row from 2011 to 2019. Ferguson’s six consecutive defeats puts him in a club whose membership includes Elvis Sinosic, Hector Lombard, Joshua Burkman and Phil Baroni.

The Dreaded Wingspan: Boosting his career stoppage rate to 86%, Kevin Holland landed a brabo choke on Michael Chiesa after the midpoint of Round 1. Holland joins Poirier, Julian Erosa, Khamzat Chimaev, Ferguson and Vicente Luque as the only fighters to ever perform multiple submissions of this type in the UFC.

D’Arce Danger: Chiesa has succumbed to three brabo chokes throughout his UFC tenure, to Masvidal, Vicente Luque and now Holland. He and Sean Soriano are the only fighters to ever fall victim to this kind of choke more than once, while Soriano only has two stoppage losses to them.

Call Me Gabriel: In 73 seconds, Gabriel Bonfim throttled Trevin Giles with a guillotine choke to lift his pro record to 15-0. All 15 of his victories have come via stoppage, with 12 of those by choke including both of his UFC wins.

In the Red: Vinicius Salvador missed the flyweight limit by 2.5 pounds and lost a hard-fought decision to C.J. Vergara. The Brazilian is one of 17 combatants this year for the promotion to miss weight, and he dropped the win percentage of heavy fighters below .300 with the loss.

Et Tu, Roman? Punting Claudio Ribeiro with a head kick, Roman Kopylov picked up his third straight finish in the organization. Ten of his 11 pro wins have come inside the distance, with all 10 of those by knockout.

The Kid Becomes the Man: “The Celtic Kid” Jake Matthews outlasted Darrius Flowers to get the rear-naked choke finish in Round 2. Even holding more stoppages via submission that knockout, this marks the first sub he has landed since he choked out Shinsho Anzai over five years ago.

The Doctor Was Always In: Uros Medic lumped up Matthew Semelsberger with a spinning back fist and follow-up punches. He maintains his 100% finish rate in victory, while becoming the 11th fighter in UFC history to procure a knockout via spinning back fist.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into UFC 291, Poirier had never lost a rematch (37 fights), Pereira had never fought above 185 pounds in MMA (nine fights) and Semelsberger had never dropped consecutive bouts (16 fights).

He Paid the Cost to Be the Boss: In each of his last 11 fights, Poirier has walked out accompanied by “The Boss” by James Brown. The loss is just his third since switching to the walkout track in 2017.

That Night I Crushed Your Face: All of Chiesa’s 18 UFC outings have featured “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent playing during his entrance. Of those 18 fights, 11 have ended by submission, win or lose.

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