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After taking time to recharge, Robert Whittaker got back on track at UFC on ESPN 14.
The former middleweight champion garnered a competitive unanimous verdict against Darren Till in Saturday’s headliner at the Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, earning a trio of 48-47 scorecards. Whittaker survived a shaky beginning to outwork “The Gorilla” down the stretch for his 10th victory in his last 11 Octagon appearances. Till, meanwhile, falls to 1-1 since moving up to 185 pounds.
Here is a by-the-numbers look at UFC on ESPN 14, with statistics courtesty of UFCStats.com.
69: Significant strikes landed by Whittaker. By comparison, Till landed 41. Whittaker outlanded his opponent 15 to 3 in Round 2, 13 to 6 in Round 3, 13 to 8 in Round 4 and 17 to 12 in Round 5. Till, meanwhile, held a 12-to-11 edge in significant strikes in the opening stanza.
39: Total strikes by which Whittaker outlanded Till in Round 2, when he dropped his opponent and spent much of the frame landing ground-and-pound from top position.
30: Significant leg strikes landed by Whittaker. Till, meanwhile, landed just five leg kicks. In other key categories such as head strikes, body strikes, clinch strikes and ground strikes, the middleweights were separated by no more than three significant strikes.
2: Takedowns landed in 13 attempts by Whittaker. Till did not attempt a takedown in the fight.
10: Unofficial media scorecards, of the 20 tracked by MMADecisions.com, that awarded the main event to Whittaker. The other 10 saw the contest in favor of Till — all by 48-47 tallies.
3-0: Record for Mauricio Rua against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira following a victory in Saturday’s co-main event. Both of Rua’s triumphs in the UFC came via split decision, while “Shogun” took a unanimous verdict over “Minotouro” under the Pride Fighting Championships banner.
54: Significant strikes landed by Rua. By comparison, Nogueira landed 46. Rua outlanded his opponent 16 to 13 in Round 1 and 23 to 18 in Round 3. Both men landed 15 significant strikes in Round 2. Rua also landed the only two takedowns of the fight.
8: Career triumphs for Carla Esparza, the second most in the history of the strawweight division behind only Joanna Jedrzejcyzk. Esparza earned a hard-fought split decision triumph over Marina Rodriguez in a featured 115-pound matchup.
5: Takedowns landed in six attempts for Esparza. “Cookie Monster” landed takedowns in every round, including three in the final frame.
118: Total strikes for Esparza. By comparison, Rodriguez landed 91. Rodriguez did have a 40-to-33 advantage in significant strikes landed.
5: Submission victories in UFC competition for Paul Craig, tying him with Misha Cirkunov, Ovince St. Preux and Glover Teixeira for the most in light heavyweight history. Craig tapped out Gadzhimurad Antigulov 2:06 into the opening round of their encounter on Saturday.
3: Triangle choke submission victories for Craig, a UFC record in any weight class.
Related » UFC on ESPN 14 Round-by-Round Scoring
10: Days between UFC victories for Khamzat Chimaev. That ranks as the quickest turnaround between wins in modern UFC history. Chas Skelly, who scored back-to-back wins over Tom Niinimaki and Sean Soriano in a 13-day span in 2014, previously held that record. Chimaev scored a dominant first-round stoppage of Rhys McKee at UFC on ESPN 14.
40: Significant strikes landed by Chimaev. McKee, meanwhile, failed to land a single significant strike in defeat. Chimaev is the fifth UFC fighter in 2020 to win a bout without absorbing a single significant strike. The others are as follows: Jack Hermansson, Conor McGregor, Kevin Holland and Sean O’Malley.
15: UFC victories for Francisco Trinaldo following his third-round technical knockout of former Cage Warriors champion Jai Herbert in a preliminary lightweight tilt. That ties him with Joe Lauzon for the fourth most in the history of the division. Only Jim Miller (19), Donald Cerrone (17) and Gleison Tibau (16) have won more at 155 pounds.
71: Total strikes by which Movsar Evloev outlanded Mike Grundy in a preliminary featherweight bout. Evloev outlanded his foe 25 to 3 in Round 1, 35 to 8 in Round 2 and 36 to 14 in Round 3. Evloev also held a 79-to-20 edge in significant strikes landed.
6: Takedowns landed in 15 attempts by Grundy. However, the English fighter was unable to keep Evloev on the canvas for a significant period of time after those successful takedowns.
0:45: Time of Tom Aspinall’s technical knockout victory over Jake Collier. That’s the fourth-fastest finishing for a debuting heavyweight in UFC history.
.710: Significant striking accuracy for Tanner Boser in a second-round technical knockout of Raphael Pessoa in a heavyweight clash. Boser landed 43 of 60 attempts, including 15 strikes ot the head, 21 to the leg and seven to the body. Pessoa, meanwhile, landed 12 of 36 significant strikes — a 33 percent success rate.
103: Significant strikes landed by Pannie Kianzad in a decision victory over Bethe Correia. Kianzad notably racked up a 48-to-16 advantage in the final round of a convincing victory.
131: Significant strikes landed by Nathaniel Wood in a decision victory over John Castaneda. That’s the third most for a three-round bantamweight bout in UFC history. By comparison, Castaneda landed 55 significant strikes.
15: Bouts on the UFC on ESPN 14 bill. That’s the most on a card held by the promotion since UFC 2 also featured 15 fights on March 11, 1994 at Fillmore Auditorium in Denver. That event, of course, included a tournament that saw fighters compete more than once in the same night.