Fight Facts: UFC on ESPN 14

By Jay Pettry Jul 27, 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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The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday waved goodbye to Yas Island in the United Arab Emirates and did so with an event that tied the record for the most bouts on any UFC card. UFC on ESPN 14 featured an unusual record for a geometric maneuver, a brand-new prospect who is on fire and the conclusion to a fun trilogy spanning 15 years.

AT LEAST PRELIMS WENT QUICK: UFC on ESPN 14 was the first event since UFC 2 to bill 15 fights on the card. UFC 2, which took place in 1994, held the entirety of a 16-man tournament.

THE KEY WAS SHOGUN: For the first time in nearly seven years, the UFC awarded a whopping six post-fight bonuses to the victors. This last occurred at UFC Fight Night 26, which was the first event held on Fox Sports 1. Chael Sonnen defeated Mauricio Rua in the headliner. In addition to a “Fight of the Night” award, two fighters received “Knockout of the Night” honors and two others received “Submission of the Night” bonus checks.

DANA WINFREY: The six bonuses awarded were not the most doled out at a single event. The record of eight stands with “The Ultimate Fighter 9” Finale in 2009, when three different bouts earned FOTN, in addition to the individual KOTN and SOTNs.

THE VOICE OF THINGS TO COME: Alternate cage announcer Joe Martinez called the action for his second straight event. In doing so, it was the first time that Martinez had ever announced consecutive UFC cards.

SHOGUN IV, THE RECKONING: In taking a third decision over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Rua is now among a small group of fighters that has beaten an opponent three times in a major promotion. He joins fighters like Frankie Edgar, Tito Ortiz, Mirko Filipovic, Wanderlei Silva and his fallen opponent’s twin brother, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

MINI BULL NO LESS MIGHTY: “Minotouro” hung up his gloves after his loss to Rua, ending a career that spanned 33 fights over nearly 19 years. The legendary Brazilian leaves the sport with victories over names including Ortiz, Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans, Alistair Overeem and Kazushi Sakuraba, among many others.

ESPARZAPPED: By taking a scorecard of 29-28 and another of 30-27, Carla Esparza managed to hand Marina Rodriguez her first career defeat. This was the Brazilian’s first loss across 15 fights.

OM NOM NOM JUDGES: Each of Esparza’s last seven wins inside the Octagon have come by decision, dating all the way back to her UFC debut. At “The Ultimate Fighter 20” Finale in 2014, “Cookie Monster” tapped Rose Namajunas with a rear-naked choke to earn the inaugural strawweight title. Rodriguez made her pro debut three months after Esparza captured that belt.

THAT’S MR. TRIANGLE MAN TO YOU: In hitting a triangle choke in just over two minutes, Paul Craig set the record for the most triangle choke victories in UFC history (three) by tapping Gadzhimurad Antigulov.

GREAT TAPPIN’ COMPANY: Craig landed his fifth submission as a UFC fighter, tying the light heavyweight record held by Glover Teixeira, Jon Jones, Misha Cirkunov and Ovince St. Preux.

SCOTTISH GOLD: After earning one of the six POTN bonuses by submitting Antigulov, “Bearjew” has earned post-fight bonus money in each of his five UFC wins.

MAYBE DON’T TAKE HIM DOWN: Throughout Craig’s 13 career wins, all 13 have come inside the distance. Twelve of those 13 came by submission, with seven via his patented triangle choke.

HE WANTS TO FIGHT AT UFC 252: Khamzat Chimaev made his Octagon debut just 10 days before his sophomore appearance against Rhys McKee. Chimaev dispatched McKee—and John Phillips before him—to become the first fighter to record two wins in less than 13 days inside the Octagon. In doing so, he passes Chas Skelly’s 13-day turnaround in 2014 and Chris Leben’s 14-day stretch in 2012.

NO, SERIOUSLY: In winning for the second time in less than two weeks, Chimaev was the only fighter to make multiple appearances on “Fight Island.” He is one of a small number of fighters, including Gilbert Burns and fellow UFC on ESPN 14 competitor Tanner Boser, to compete multiple times during the COVID-19 pandemic.

THE NEW COWBOY: Chimaev remained undefeated at 8-0 by trouncing McKee and kept his 100 percent finish rate intact with the first-round stoppage. “Borz” has still never competed into the third round.

A CHAMPION’S CLOSING LINE: With closing odds coming in at -1050, Chimaev served as the biggest betting favorite of 2020. The last fighter with odds these lopsided was Valentina Shevchenko, who defended her flyweight belt as a -1100 favorite against Liz Carmouche at UFC Fight Night 156 in 2019.

NO FLIER ZONE: Across UFC history, all 30 fighters who have closed as betting favorites above -1000 have won their fights. After Chimaev clobbered McKee, about 77 percent of those victors have finished their opponents.

THE WIN SNATCHER: Previously competing in the UFC from 2013 to 2014, Jesse Ronson left the organization after a trio of split decision defeats. “The Body Snatcher” returned to win his first-ever UFC fight, doing so by submitting Nicolas Dalby in the first round above his standard weight class.

MINUTE MAN: Tom Aspinall made his successful debut by finishing Jake Collier with a knee and follow-up punches. Across his eight career wins, all eight for the Brit have taken place in the opening round. Five of those eight happened in the first minute, with none any later than 1:21.

IN SOVIET RUSSIA, CAGE FIGHTS YOU: After a three-round decision win, Movsar Evloev kept his unbeaten record intact, advancing it to 13-0 by beating Mike Grundy. All three of the Russian’s wins in the UFC have come by unanimous verdict.

UPGRADING THE PROSPECT: By needing the full 15 minutes to beat John Castanada, Nathaniel Wood went the distance for just the third time in his career. Each of the bantamweight’s last 10 bouts had ended by stoppage, win or lose.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into UFC on ESPN 14, Darren Till (21 fights) and Grundy (13 fights) had never lost on the scorecards, Dalby had never been submitted (23 fights) and Raphael Pessoa had never been knocked out (11 fights).

THE SILENCE WAS DEAFENING: A first inside the Octagon, Till elected to choose silence instead of a walkout song. While some fighters have had their music chosen for them and other events like Dana White’s Contender Series do not allow for individual walkout songs, no UFC fighter had ever before opted to have nothing playing during their walk to the cage.

STILL CAN’T BE SHOOK: Robert Whittaker strode out with his typical “Can’t Be Stopped” by Body Head Bangerz playing behind him and won a decision. “Bobby Knuckles” has never lost when using the track, going 10-0. Of note, Whittaker changed his walkout song before his defeat against Israel Adesanya to “Khe Sanh” by Cold Chisel for his home crowd.

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