Fight Facts: UFC on ESPN 2

By Jay Pettry Apr 1, 2019

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.


The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday headed back to Philadelphia for the first time since 2011 with a main event that virtually guaranteed fireworks. UFC on ESPN 2 featured the rise of the bonus king, a historic last-minute submission and a fighter who was ranked before he even made his organizational debut.

SHORT AND SWEET: The main event earned “Fight of the Night” honors despite lasting just 2:30. It was the 20th fight that ended in the first round to earn “Fight of the Night,” but only two of those were shorter: Donald Cerrone-Melvin Guillard at UFC 150 and John Lineker-Francisco Rivera at UFC 191.

THEY KNEW AHEAD OF TIME: In earning “Fight of the Night” after flooring Edson Barboza, Justin Gaethje has banked six post-fight bonuses in his five UFC bouts. He is the first fighter in UFC history to start his career by winning post-fight bonuses in each of his first five fights. Thomas Almeida started his UFC career with five bonus-winning fights, although his fifth was a knockout loss to Cody Garbrandt in which Garbrandt picked up the bonus.

KNOCK OUT OR GET KNOCKED OUT: Gaethje’s knockout of Barboza gave him his 20th career victory, and he has finished 18 of those opponents. Win or lose, each of Gaethje’s last nine bouts and 16 of his last 17 have ended by knockout.

HAIL MARY PUNCH: Josh Emmett’s one-punch knockout of Michael Johnson at 4:14 of the third round is the latest single-punch finish in a three-round fight in promotional history. The only fight ending later from one punch came when Santiago Ponzinibbio faceplanted Neil Magny in the fourth round of the UFC Fight Night 140 main event.

NO JOKE: After submitting David Branch, Jack Hermansson has finished his opponent in 16 of his 19 victories.

SECOND-WIND WARRIORS: By forcing Kennedy Nzechukwu to tap out with less than a minute left in their bout, Paul Craig joined three others fighters that have scored multiple last-minute victories inside the Octagon: Antonio Carlos Jr. and Brian Ortega with two and Mike Pyle with three.

ANOTHER VICTIM TO THE COMEBACK: Nzechukwu suffered the first loss of his career at the hands of Craig, who submitted him with a triangle choke 4:20 into the third round of their bout. Only four triangle chokes have occurred later in UFC history. Craig also holds the latest.

LAST-MINUTE MAN: Craig is the only fighter in UFC history to have three straight bouts end with less than a minute left on the clock. He submitted Magomed Ankalaev at 4:59, was submitted by Jim Crute at 4:51 and submitted Nzechukwu at 4:20, each in Round 3.

TRIANGLE MAN RETURNS: After tapping out Nzechukwu, Craig has finished his opponent in all 11 of his career victories, 10 of them by submission. Of those 10 submissions, six have come by triangle choke.

A NEW THREAT EMERGES: Marina Rodriguez remained unbeaten at 11-0-1 by taking a dominant decision over Jessica Aguilar. Her lone career blemish came in her UFC debut, where she settled for a draw against Randa Markos.

HOW DO I GET OUT OF THIS CHICKEN SALAD OUTFIT?: Casey Kenney made his Octagon debut as the UFC’s No. 15-ranked flyweight, despite this being his first assignment with the promotion and it coming at bantamweight. He previously competed at LFA 62 eight days prior and knocked out Vince Cachero with a knee in 98 seconds.

BAD NEWS BORGS: Ray Borg missed weight in his bantamweight debut -- he came in 1.25 pounds heavy against Kenney -- and lost a decision. Borg became the third fighter in UFC history to miss weight in two different weight classes, as he missed weight at flyweight twice previously. Anthony Johnson famously missed weight multiple times at welterweight and then came in 11 pounds heavy in his attempted middleweight debut against Vitor Belfort at UFC 142. Also, Johny Hendricks missed weight twice at welterweight and then came in heavy against Tim Boetsch at middleweight.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into UFC on ESPN 2, Branch (27 fights) and Borg (14 fights) had never suffered consecutive defeats, Sabina Mazo had never been defeated (six fights) and Sheymon Moraes (13 fights) and Mark De La Rosa (12 fights) had never lost on the scorecards.

THE PHILADELPHIA THEME SONG: Unsurprisingly, a fighter made his walk to the cage during the UFC’s return to Philadelphia accompanied by Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now” from the “Rocky” soundtrack. Barboza lost by knockout. The most frequently used song in UFC history -- it is also the winningest -- “Gonna Fly Now” is the only song to ever be used more than 40 recorded times.

TREAT ME GOOD IF YOU WANNA LIVE: For the first recorded time in UFC history, a fighter walked out to a song by Peter Tosh. Branch selected “Stepping Razor” and suffered a guillotine choke submission loss.

Sherdog contributing editor Jay Pettry is an attorney and a statistician. Writing about MMA since he started studying the “Eminem Curse” in 2012 and working for Vice Sports and Combat Docket along the way, he put together many fight result and entrance music databases to better study the sport. You can find him on twitter at @jaypettry.


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