Fight Stat Wrap: UFC Phoenix
Fight Stat Wrap: UFC Phoenix

This article is part of our Fight Stat Wrap series.

In some ways the main event of UFC on ESPN 1 was anticlimactic. On the other hand, Francis Ngannou picked up easily the biggest win of his career as he bested former UFC champion Cain Velasquez in only 26 seconds. The following is a by-the-numbers recap that highlights the stats and milestones that stood out on the main card, with stats courtesy of FightMetric.com.

Francis Ngannou stops Cain Velasquez in 26 seconds

The story coming into this fight was that Ngannou has elite finishing skill, and Velasquez needed to score an early takedown. The takedown did not materialize, and Ngannou finished the fight. Regardless of how the injury contributed to the finish, Ngannou needed only six significant strikes to end the bout. He now has five UFC wins without landing more than 10 significant strikes. At 26 seconds, this was his quickest finish to date. His previous fight against Curtis Blaydes (45 seconds) had been his former high, but he has now eclipsed that.

Anyone who picked Ngannou on DraftKings had to be hoping for this kind of turnout. For the quick victory, he earned players 93 points based mostly on the first-round finish bonus.

Paul Felder edges James Vick thanks to damaging leg kicks

Vick actually had the striking edge numerically. He outlanded Felder 61 to 55 on significant strikes. However, Felder made the difference with his leg kicks. He landed 20 significant strikes to the legs against Vick, and those strikes took a toll. Felder also outlanded Vick in terms of significant head strikes, 31 to 24, and judges are often swayed most by those types of shots.

Felder finished with the lowest DraftKings score among winning fighters. Even though he edged Vick on the card, he early only 57.5 points based on the decision win bonus and 55 landed significant strikes.

Cynthia Calvillo works for decision over Cortney Casey

Calvillo failed on all six of her takedown attempts, but she managed to win a striking-based decision. She outlanded Casey 82 to 73 on significant strikes and maintained that edge in the first two rounds. Neither fighter was overly accurate – 42 percent landed for Calvillo and 41 percent landed for Casey – but Calvillo outworked her opponent over the three-round fight. She attempted 192 significant strikes compared to only 176 from Casey.

Calvillo's activity helped her edge Casey on the scorecards, and it helped her earn 71 DraftKings points. She is usually more of a grappling threat, so it was somewhat surprising to players that she kept the fight standing.

Kron Gracie defeats Alex Caceres on his turf

Gracie closed at around a (-300) favorite for this fight, but he still seemed somewhat undervalued across the MMA blogosphere. Even though this was his MMA debut, he had already fought and defeated fighters on a level similar to Caceres. While some high level grapplers struggle when they convert to MMA, Gracie excels at putting himself into position to make it a grappling fight. That is why he has scored five submissions in five fights.

For the quick submission victory, Gracie earned 99 points on DraftKings. It was the fifth highest score of the night. If he continues to fight in the UFC, his early stopping ability will make him a consistent points threat on DraftKings.

Vicente Luque walks out of battle against Bryan Barberena

This was a wild fight. Barberena's ability to withstand punishment and still strike with volume made for a very memorable bout. In the end, Luque stopped Barberena with a pair of knees in the clinch. While both ended up with similar significant strike totals – 163 for Luque and 169 for Barberena – they both employed different strategies. Barberena attempted 355 significant strikes and never stopped coming forward. He varied the level of power on those strikes, but his attack was persistent. On other hand, Luque attempted only 241 significant strikes. The majority of those strikes were power strikes, and he landed 67 percent of his attempts.

The two combined to land 332 significant strikes, which is only two behind the record for the most landed in a three-round fight. The record is still held by Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone at UFC 141. Max Holloway and Brian Ortega recently set the record for overall fights when they combined to land 400 at UFC 231.

The recipe for a high DraftKings score is a high volume fight that ends with a late finish. That is exactly what happened here for Luque. He finished with 144.5 points, which was not only the highest score of the night but it was also the second highest score of the year so far.

Despite losing, Barberena still finished with 94.5 points, which was higher than six of the winning fighters on the night.

Andre Fili outlands Myles Jury on the feet

It became clear relatively early that this was going to be a striking contest and whoever could land more would win. Jury nearly finished the bout at the end of the second round and did solid work on the ground. Other than that, the rest of the fight was Fili slightly outlanding him at distance. For the fight, Fili outlanded him at distance 98 to 72, including a 31 to 19 advantage in round one, 31 to 29 in round two and 36 to 24 in the final round.

Fili was able to run up the significant strikes numbers, but he did not have very much else point scoring activity. He finished with 79 points on DraftKings, which the 11th higher score of the night.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Mann
Richard is a statistical MMA analyst that has appeared on ESPN MMA via Fightmetric.
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