Fight Facts: UFC 229

By Jay Pettry Oct 9, 2018

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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Headlining its latest trip to Las Vegas with its self-proclaimed biggest fight of all-time, the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday staged an event that delivered from top to bottom, only to be marred by post-fight drama at T-Mobile Arena. UFC 229 featured a wrecking machine who did exactly what he said he would do, a top contender who seems to be addicted to putting on exciting fights and the 1000th bout to end by technical knockout.

POSITIVELY SMASHING: UFC 229 featured seven knockouts, one shy of the record held in a five-way tie between UFC 92, UFC 199, UFC 218, UFC on Fox 7 and UFC Fight Night 45.

YOU CAN’T STOP HIM, HE’S THE JUGGERNAUT: Extending the longest current undefeated streak in MMA to 27 fights, Khabib Nurmagomedov dominated Conor McGregor and coaxed the tap via neck crank in the fourth round.

TURN THE CRANK: By forcing McGregor to submit to a neck crank, Nurmagomedov became the first fighter to win with the maneuver since Gunnar Nelson tapped Albert Tumenov with one at UFC Fight Night 87 in 2016. It was the first neck crank performed by a lightweight in UFC history and the third in a title fight, joining Mark Coleman over Dan Severn and Tito Ortiz over Yuki Kondo.

THANK GOD FOR SMALL MIRACLES: By winning the third round on all three scorecards, McGregor became the first fighter in UFC history to ever win a round against Nurmagomedov. In his previous 10 UFC bouts, Khabib never officially lost a single round.

STREAK BREAKER: Coming into his bout with Nurmagomedov, McGregor had won eight consecutive post-fight bonuses -- the longest streak of its kind in UFC history. His run ended at UFC 229.

ODDS’ HONEST TRUTH: Closing as a +165 underdog against -190 champion Nurmagomedov, McGregor fought as the betting underdog for the first time in his UFC career. Although he closed at -105 compared to Jose Aldo at -115 before UFC 194, both fighters were still considered betting favorites.

THEY BOTH GO UP TO 11: Both Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson recorded victories at UFC 229 to extend their respective winning streaks to 11. Their dualing streaks trail Max Holloway (12) and Georges St. Pierre (13) for the longest active winning streak inside the UFC. Nurmagomedov has finished his opponent in five of those bouts, while Ferguson has recorded eight finishes.

EL CHA-CHING: After earning “Fight of the Night” honors for his outstanding battle with Anthony Pettis, Ferguson has now picked up seven post-fight bonuses across his last seven appearances. While “El Cucuy” did not earn a bonus for submitting Kevin Lee at UFC 216, he earned both a “Fight of the Night” and “Performance of the Night” bonus after submitting Edson Barboza at “The Ultimate Fighter 22” Finale in 2015.

BROTHERS IN HARMS: Appearing on the same UFC card for the fourth time in their careers, brothers Anthony and Sergio Pettis both suffered defeats at UFC 229. This was the second time both have fought at the same event and lost -- a result first occurring at UFC 185. The first time they appeared together on a card at UFC 181, they both won.

SWANGIN’ AND BANGIN’: In a Hail Mary effort, Derrick Lewis knocked out Alexander Volkov in the waning seconds of the third round. In doing so, he earned his 10th knockout at heavyweight, tying Cain Velasquez for the most in the history of the UFC’s heavyweight division.

WHAT A BEAST: By scoring a miraculous comeback knockout over Volkov with only 11 seconds left in the bout, Lewis earned the latest finish win in a three-round heavyweight fight in the UFC. Four of the seven latest stoppages in UFC heavyweight history have involved either Lewis or Volkov.

IF YOU DON’T EAT YOUR MEAT, YOU CAN’T HAVE ANY PUDDING: With Jussier da Silva’s flyweight showdown against Sergio Pettis headlining the UFC 229 prelims, 17 of the last 20 flyweight fights dating back to December 2017 have been showcased on the prelims and not the main card.

DISCOMBOBULATINGLY DEVASTATING: Perhaps robbed of a finish when the referee did not rule his walk-off punch that floored Ovince St. Preux a knockout, Dominick Reyes improved his undefeated record to 10-0 with a decision win. Reyes has finished eight of those 10 opponents and was seconds away from earning his ninth stoppage.

THOUSAND CUTS: With a furious barrage of strikes, Aspen Ladd stopped Tonya Evinger by technical knockout and scored the 1000th TKO in UFC history. In seven career bouts, Ladd remains unbeaten. She has stopped six of her seven opponents.

SHINS TO CHINS: By starting the night off with two straight head kick knockouts -- Tony Martin over Ryan LaFlare and Nik Lentz over Gray Maynard -- UFC 229 became the first event in Ultimate Fighting Championship history to feature back-to-back head kick knockouts and the fifth with multiple head kick finishes overall.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into UFC 229, Martin had never won by knockout (17 fights), Alan Patrick Silva Alves had never lost a fight that went into the third round (16 fights) and McGregor had never lost a title fight in his career (five fights).

IT’S MY PARTY AND I’LL FIGHT IF I WANT TO: Throughout his whole UFC career, Ferguson has walked out to “The Party Has Just Begun” by Freestyle and to incredible success. He sports a 14-1 record with the track while finishing 10 of his opponents.

ABRE LOS OJOS: After Anthony Pettis made his walk to the cage accompanied by “All Eyez on Me” by 2Pac, he lost by TKO. In five recorded uses, no fighter to walk out to that track has ever won inside the Octagon.

YOU GET NO LOVE: Walking out to “No Love” by Eminem featuring Lil’ Wayne, Martin knocked out LaFlare and earned Eminem his 75th recorded victory as a walkout artist -- the most of any artist by far. The second-winningest walkout artist, DMX, trails Eminem by 10 recorded wins.

CAN’T BE IGNORED: After an event reminiscent of Strikeforce “Nashville” in 2010, where the winner of the main event was involved a brawl with a fighter not part of the headliner, UFC President Dana White was quick to announce that Nurmagomedov’s cornermen would likely never fight in the Octagon again. Among those involved were UFC featherweight Zubaira Tukhugov, who has been pulled from his UFC Fight Night matchup at the end of October against McGregor teammate Artem Lobov. With the champion facing punishment that includes a possible suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission, the future of the UFC’s lightweight division remains unclear.

Jay Pettry is an attorney and a statistician. Writing about MMA since he started studying the “Eminem Curse” in 2012, and writing 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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