Fight Facts: UFC on ESPN 18

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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 lost a wheel but somehow skidded across the finish line with UFC on ESPN 18. This 10-fight offering featured a lot of action and enjoyable moments despite a general lack of star power, with finishes in each of the first five bouts. This event featured an opportunistic headliner showing off, a rare body kick stoppage among women and an unusual distinction for The Charlie Daniels Band.

Hawaiian Punched: Three Hawaiian fighters competed at this event: Rachael Ostovich, Martin Day and Kai Kamaka III. All three lost by stoppage.

And Bookies Were Upset: Six betting underdogs won their matches on the card, ending UFC on ESPN 18 with the most upsets in the COVID-19 era of the UFC. The Feb. 29 card of UFC Fight Night 169 also saw six underdogs prevail throughout the night.

Fifty is Nifty, But Have You Tried 100? Anthony Smith competed in his 50th career bout in the UFC on ESPN 18 headliner, and it was his seventh consecutive UFC main event. Before this stretch, “Lionheart” had not served as the main event of a UFC card.

The Perfect Backup Plan: This is the second straight bout that Smith has been scheduled as the co-main event, only to get upgraded to headliner status when the original marquee matchup fell through. Smith faced Aleksandar Rakic in August atop UFC Fight Night 175 when Yair Rodriguez vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov evaporated, and then took on Clark when Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis was nixed.

Rumors of My Demise: Smith elevated his sky-high finish rate to 91 percent by tapping out Devin Clark in the first round. The stoppage was at least Smith’s 17th inside the first round.

Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Smith has finished his foe in each of his last eight victories. The last four have all earned him “Performance of the Night” bonuses.

Top Time to Triangle: The triangle choke by “Lionheart” was just the fourth of its kind this year in the UFC. It is the fifth to come in a UFC headliner, although one recently occurred at UFC 254 when Khabib Nurmagomedov put Justin Gaethje to sleep.

Tumbling Down the Ladder: Each of Clark’s career losses has come inside the distance, but unlike Smith, only one-third of his victories are by stoppage.

Remember the Nickname: Tapping out Takashi Sato with a second-round arm-triangle choke, Miguel Baeza advanced his perfect record to 10-0. “Caramel Thunder” now posts an 80 percent finish rate in his young career, with each of his three UFC appearances garnering stoppages.

So Tired: Josh Parisian dropped a unanimous verdict in his UFC debut to Parker Porter, and in the process snapped a 10-fight streak of fights ending within the first two rounds, win or lose.

The Rise of JSP: Rebounding from his first career knockout loss, Jonathan Pearce pounded out Kamaka to earn his ninth career finish. Each of the last eight wins for “JSP” have come inside the distance.

Best Fighter Name: Anderson dos Santos secured a first-round guillotine choke of Day to earn his first win inside the promotion. The Brazilian now holds 12 wins by submission, and he also notched his 12th win in the first round.

Danger at Flyweight: Gina Mazany finished Ostovich with a pair of liver kicks late into the third round. “Danger” is just the third female fighter across company history to end a fight with body kicks, joining Joanne Calderwood in 2016 and Poliana Botelho in 2018.

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of…Defeat: The stoppage for Mazany came at 4:10 of Round 3, making Ostovich the first woman in promotional history to suffer more than one defeat with less than a minute remaining in her match. Montana De La Rosa previously tapped out Ostovich at 4:20 of the third frame at the TUF 27 Finale in 2018.

A Contender Named Su: By putting Malcolm Gordon down in 44 seconds, Su Mudaerji scored the third-quickest knockout in UFC flyweight history. The fastest came at the hands of Dustin Ortiz against Hector Sandoval at UFC Fight Night 114 in 2017, in just 15 seconds.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into UFC on ESPN 18, Baeza had never won by submission (nine fights), Spike Carlyle had never lost consecutive bouts (11 fights) and Day had never been submitted (12 fights).

There Is Only One Thing We Say to Death: Breaking from tradition and changing his walkout song after six consecutive uses of “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison, Smith instead selected “Ready to Die” by Notorious B.I.G. Smith won in dominant fashion.

Won a Shiny Fiddle Made of Gold: Over the years, several fighters including Matt Brown and Johny Hendricks have walked out to songs by The Charlie Daniels Band. Pearce picked “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and he is the first recorded fighter in UFC history to win accompanied by one of their songs.


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