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Once-beaten lightweights with something to prove will toe the line against one another when four-time NCAA All-American wrestler Gregor Gillespie takes on Brad Riddell in the UFC on ESPN 21 co-main event this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Neither man can afford to give ground in a weight class that offers so little room for error.
Gillespie operates out of the Bellmore Kickboxing Academy in New York. The former Ring of Combat champion finds himself on the rebound following his devastating knockout loss—it was his first defeat in 14 professional appearances—to Kevin Lee at UFC 244 in November 2019. Riddell, meanwhile, has rattled off six straight wins. The City Kickboxing standout last competed at UFC 253, where he laid claim to a unanimous decision over Alex da Silva Coelho on Sept. 26.
As Gillespie and Riddell jump through their final pre-fight hoops, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
34: Years of age for Gillespie, who was born on March 18, 1987 in Webster, New York—a city of roughly 42,000 people that rests on the shores of Lake Ontario on the western side of The Empire State.
5: Gillespie victories by submission, accounting for 38% of his career total (13). His methods of choice: four arm-triangle chokes and one rear-naked choke. Gillespie owns six other wins by knockout and two more by decision.
7: First-round finishes on the Gillespie resume, highlighted by his 21-second knockout of Andrew Holbrook at UFC 210 on April 8, 2017.
72: Total strikes by which Gillespie outlanded Yancy Medeiros in his second-round technical knockout of the Hawaiian at UFC Fight Night 143 in 2019. He connected on 73 strikes against Medeiros while absorbing only one in return.
23: Takedowns completed by Gillespie in his seven Octagon appearances, tying him with Vinc Pichel, Alan Patrick and Beneil Dariush for ninth on the UFC’s active lightweight list.
29: Years of age for Riddell, who was born on Sept. 30, 1991 in Christchurch, New Zealand, more than 7,100 miles away from Ultimate Fighting Championship headquarters.
78: Significant strikes by which Riddell has outpaced his first three UFC opponents. He has outstruck Coelho, Magomed Mustafaev and Jamie Mullarkey by a 196-118 margin, earning decisions over all three.
135: Seconds needed for Riddell to punch out Gi Gean Key in his professional debut on Aug. 31, 2013. It remains the fastest finish of his 10-fight career.
14: Takedowns surrendered by Riddell in his three UFC appearances, including eight of them against the aforementioned Mustafaev. Opponents have a conversion rate of 40% (14-for-35) against him.
973: Days since Riddell experienced his only pro defeat. He submitted to an Abel Brites armbar at a Hex Fight Series event on July 21, 2019, tapping out just 65 seconds into Round 1.