Fight Facts: UFC on ESPN 26

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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 staged a less dramatic but still entertaining event in its return to the Apex on Saturday. The fight card, light on ranked talent but high on promising prospects, brought forth a number of dynamic finishes and solid performances. UFC on ESPN 26 featured the triumphant return of an ex-champ after a long time off, the speediest kimura in UFC history and the rise of an heir apparent to the lightweight throne.

Khabib 2.0 Achieved: Islam Makhachev throttled Thiago Moises by rear-naked choke midway through the fourth round. Dating back two years, Makhachev’s Round 4 finish is just the second to take place under the UFC lights, with the previous one Uriah Hall’s knockout of Anderson Silva at UFC Fight Night 181 in October 2020.

Every Bit An 8-to-1 Favorite: The line for Makhachev closing at a whopping -800 made him the heaviest betting favorite for a non-title headliner since a -1000 Cristiane Justino faced +650 underdog Lina Lansberg atop UFC Fight Night 95 in 2016.

In Russia, It’s Called Sambo: Makhachev’s submission was his fourth as a UFC lightweight, tying Gilbert Burns, Kevin Lee and Oliver Aubin-Mercier for the fifth-most in UFC 155-pound history. Jim Miller maintains the top position with seven, while Charles Oliveira sports six and both Beneil Dariush and Kenny Florian racked up five.

It’s Like Riding a Bike: Pounding out Marion Reneau in the third round earned Miesha Tate her first stoppage win due to strikes since smiting Sarah Oriza with a head kick in October 2009. At that time, all but three fighters on the card — including her opponent — had yet to make their professional debuts.

Late Night Cupcakes: Tate is now one of five women to record more than one UFC finish in the third round or later – “Cupcake” submitted Holly Holm for the title in Round 5 in 2016 – and she joins a group populated by Cat Zingano, Paige VanZant, Lauren Murphy and her opponent Reneau.

Bruiser No More: At 44 years of age, Reneau called it a career on the heels of her fifth consecutive defeat. “The Belizean Bruiser” may have left the sport with a UFC record below .500, but she celebrates victories over the likes of former champ Jessica Andrade and ex-challenger Sara McMann across her career that began in 2010.

Bring It Back: Mateusz Gamrot pulled off the first kimura inside the Octagon this year when he tapped out Jeremy Stephens. The most recent kimura before that came when Ed Herman finished Mike Rodriguez with one at UFC Fight Night 177 in September 2020.

Two-on-One Deluxe: Ratcheting Stephens’ arm in 65 seconds, Gamrot’s tapout due to a kimura is the quickest of its kind in UFC history.

More Money for Games: Since joining the promotion in late 2020, Gamrot has competed three times, with two stoppage victories to his credit. Each of those three appearances have garnered “Gamer” a post-fight bonus.

From Observer to Opposition: Gamrot landed the first submission on Stephens since Joe Lauzon tapped him with an armbar at UFC Fight Night 17 in 2009. Gamrot was still three years away from turning pro when Lauzon scored that win.

He’ll Probably Fight Conor Next: The loss was Stephens’ 18th on the UFC roster, extending his own record for the most in company history.

A Legitimate Choke Artist: Rebounding from his first defeat in MMA, Rodolfo Vieira submitted Dustin Stoltzfus in the third round with a rear-naked choke. “The Black Belt Hunter” still maintains a perfect finish rate of 100 percent, with seven chokes in eight wins.

You Get the D-Rod: Even though he faced a new opponent come fight week, Daniel Rodriguez crushed Preston Parsons with strikes in the first round. A whole 80 percent of the wins for “D-Rod” have come inside the distance.

Allergic to Judges: Win or lose, Parsons has still yet to fight into the third round in his 12-fight pro career, after Rodriguez knocked the newcomer out in the opening frame.

Fists Like Wrecking Balls: In just 35 seconds, Amanda Lemos dispatched Montserrat Ruiz out with punches. The Brazilian notched the second-fastest knockout in UFC strawweight history with her win, and she trails Poliana Botelho’s 33-second drubbing of Syuri Kondo at UFC 129 in 2018.

Small Frame, Huge Power: Across every UFC woman’s division, only four women have secured quicker knockouts than Lemos: Ronda Rousey (twice), Germaine de Randamie, Julia Avila and Botelho.

Lemosade Stand: As a professional, nine of Lemos’ 10 wins have come by stoppage, including three of four in the UFC. She now boasts eight first-round finishes among those victories.

Stole His Picnic Basket Too: Laying waste to Alan Baudot in the second round, Rodrigo Nascimento still possesses a 100% finish rate. Only one-third of the wins for “Yogi Bear” have come from his fists.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into UFC on ESPN 26, four fighters had never been finished (Moises, Reneau, Stoltzfus and Ruiz), three fighters had never dropped consecutive bouts (Stoltzfus, Taha and Baudot) and Makhachev had never competed beyond the third round (20 fights).

3.3 Billion Views? After a lengthy layoff, Tate returned and revived her customary walkout track of “Roar” by Katy Perry. Tate emerged victorious with her first finish in over five years.

Why is Queen Still Playing? Both Stoltzfus and Parsons selected songs by Queen ahead of their appearances at this card, with Stoltzfus using “Don’t Stop Me Now” while Parsons went with the tune of “Under Pressure” with Queen and David Bowie. Both men lost by stoppage.

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