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Marvin Vettori stepped up and delivered in his first Ultimate Fighting Championship headlining appointment.
A replacement opponent for Jack Hermansson after Darren Till and Kevin Holland withdrew from the bout, Vettori earned an entertaining five-round verdict over “The Joker” in the UFC on ESPN 19 main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Vettori nearly scored a finish in Round 1 but to his credit, the Kings MMA product didn’t fade when Hermansson stayed in the fight. Now, Vettori is both a serious contender at 185 pounds and the present face of Italian MMA.
Here is a by-the-numbers look at UFC on ESPN 19, with statistics courtesy of UFCStats.com.
4: Consecutive victories for Vettori, tying him with Kevin Holland for the second-longest active winning streak in the middleweight division. Reigning champion Israel Adesanya is first with nine straight triumphs at 185 pounds.
286: Combined significant strikes landed by Vettori (164) and Hermanson (122) in their 25-minute encounter. That’s a UFC record for a middleweight bout. Robert Whittaker (128) and Yoel Romero (111) previously held the top spot with 239 combined significant strikes landed in their rematch at UFC 225.
143: Significant head strikes landed by Vettori. By comparison, Hermansson landed 86 significant head strikes. Both men landed 18 body shots, while “The Joker” held an 18-to-3 edge in significant leg strikes.
106: Combined significant strikes landed by Vettori in Rounds 4 and 5. Hermansson, meanwhile, landed 62 significant strikes in the championship frames.
2: Takedowns landed in seven attempts for Hermansson. The 32-year-old Swede landed both takedowns in the second frame, but it was Vettori who maintained 2:28 of control time in that period compared to 28 seconds for Hermansson. Vettori had 5:47 of control time in the bout, while Hermansson had just 28 seconds.
27: Significant head strikes by which Jamahal Hill outlanded Ovince St. Preux in their light heavyweight co-main event. Hill only held a 7-to-2 edge in significant head strikes in the opening stanza, when he landed 15 significant strikes to the body while attempting to find his range. Overall, Hill outlanded “OSP” 68 to 36 in significant strikes — 27 to 21 in Round 1 and 41 to 15 in Round 2.
5-1: UFC record for Gabriel Benitez when he attempts more significant strikes than his opponent. Benitez attempted twice as many significant strikes as opponent Justin Jaynes — 104 to 52 — and outlanded him by a 38-to-22 count en route to a knockout victory 4:06 into Round 1.
1: Decision win in eight professional appearances for Roman Dolidze, who went the distance for the first time in his career to earn a unanimous verdict over John Allan in a featured light heavyweight tilt.
7:16: Total control time for Dolidze, who landed three of five takedowns and held a 118-to-48 advantage in total strikes. The Georgian fighter also attempted three submissions — all leg locks.
12: Slam KOs in UFC history after Dana White’s Contender Series alum Jordan Leavitt slammed Matt Wiman unconscious 22 seconds into the opening round of their featured lightweight encounter. It’s also the first KO/TKO finish of Leavitt’s pro career; he had finished five of his first seven wins via submission.
5: Slam KOs in UFC competition that occurred inside of a round, including Leavitt’s. The other four: Joshua Burkman (21 seconds vs. Sam Morgan at the “TUF 2” finale); Frank Shamrock (22 seconds vs. Igor Zinoviev at UFC 16); Tito Ortiz (32 seconds vs. Evan Tanner at UFC 30) and Gabriel Benitez (39 seconds vs. Humberto Bandenay at UFC Fight Night 129). Five of those slam KOs also came from fighters in their UFC debuts: Leavitt, Falaniko Vitale, Burkman, Rustam Khabilov and Galore Bofando.
0:22: Time of Leavitt’s victory, the fastest finish for a debuting lightweight in UFC history. Kevin Croom held previously set the record with a 31-second stoppage of Roosevelt Roberts at UFC Fight Night 177, though his triumph was eventually overturned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to a positive marijuana test.
18: Significant body strikes — out of 31 total — landed by Ilia Topuria in a first-round knockout of Damon Jackson at featherweight. A body shot was part of Topuria’s finishing sequence at the 2:38 mark of Round 1 as the MMA Masters product improved to 10-0 as a professional.
13: Fighters in UFC history to earn victories in three different weight classes after Jake Collier outpointed Gian Villante in a preliminary heavyweight bout. Collier has won UFC fights at heavyweight, light heavyweight and middleweight during his promotional tenure.
123: Significant strikes landed by Collier, a UFC best in eight career bouts for the 32-year-old Pit MMA representative. By comparison, Villante landed 80 significant strikes. Collier outlanded his foe 49 to 27 in Round 1, 38 to 30 in Round 2 and 36 to 23 in Round 3.
3: 2020 Fight cards to consist of eight bouts or less, including Saturday’s offering. UFC on ESPN 19 went from 11 bouts to eight just hours before the event after Taila Santos vs. Montana De La Rosa, Nate Landwehr vs Movsar Evloev and Jimmy Flick vs. Cody Durden were scrapped. The other two abbreviated events from 2020 were UFC Fight Night 176 “Overeem vs. Sakai” on Sept. 5 (seven bouts) and UFC Fight Night 173 “Brunson vs. Shahbazyan” on Aug. 1 (eight bouts).