Fight Facts: UFC 259

By: Jay Pettry
Mar 8, 2021

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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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The Ultimate Fighting Championship managed to keep its 15-fight train intact to reach the station, with wildly varying results throughout a marathon card. Only one of three titles changed hands in a statistically unusual circumstance throughout the night. UFC 259 featured a record-setter reaching even new heights, an incredible force perfect no more and a knee that broke many a heart.

Eight Hours, 15 Minutes: The UFC put on 15 fights on UFC 259, tying the all-time record with UFC 2 and UFC on ESPN 20. It is the first 15-fight card with a title fight, let alone multiple championship affairs.

Slaying the Style: Defending his light heavyweight belt, Jan Blachowicz became the first fighter to defeat then 20-0 Israel Adesanya in MMA.

Bonafide Champ: Blachowicz registered his first title defense in his win over Adesanya, becoming just the eighth man in company history to successfully defend the UFC lightweight belt.

Immortality Denied: By beating Adesanya, Blachowicz blocked “The Last Stylebender” from becoming the fifth fighter in company history to simultaneously hold two belts. Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes and Henry Cejudo all have done so, with Nunes the only active one remaining.

Rivaling the Greats: Nunes placed herself among elite company by notching a dominant victory over Megan Anderson. She has won 12 fights in a row, extending her record for the most consecutive victories for any female UFC fighter. Only seven men have recorded 13 or more straight.

The GWOAT: The triumph for Nunes extended a litany of records for all women to ever enter the Octagon. “The Lioness” now celebrates the most wins (14), championship victories (nine), finishes (10), first-round stoppages (nine) and total title defenses (seven) among all of her many achievements.

Nunes Has More R1 Wins Than Ngannou: When compared to every fighter in modern UFC history, Nunes trails just two fighters for the most first-round stoppages ever recorded: Jim Miller and Frank Mir (10 each). While Royce Gracie possesses 11 and Vitor Belfort has secured 13 overall, they pulled off finishes when the UFC did not have multiple-round bouts.

A Brazilian Thing: The triangle armbar by Nunes is not the first in UFC championship history but the second, as Anderson Silva snared Chael Sonnen with one at UFC 117 in 2010.

Inventing Positions as She Goes: Nunes also pulled off the second triangle armbar in UFC women’s divisional history by tapping Anderson. Joanne Calderwood previously landed this maneuver off at UFC Fight Night 135 in 2018 over Kalindra Faria.

How Can You Build Contenders? The most recent women’s featherweight match before Nunes met Anderson was Nunes taking on Felicia Spencer in 2020. No other match in the division took place inside the Octagon over the last nine months.

Mark Smith Ruled It Intentional: No UFC championship had ever changed hands due to a disqualification until Petr Yan damaged Aljamain Sterling with an intentional illegal knee to force a stoppage. Sterling walked away with the belt. It was also the first in any five-round fight for the promotion.

Of Course It Was Mike Kyle: The disqualification is the first in UFC history to take place in a title fight, but not the first in combined Zuffa history. Mike Kyle was DQed for strikes after the bell against Brian Olsen for the World Extreme Cagefighting heavyweight strap at WEC 20 in 2006.

Nearly 20 Minutes Wasted: The official time of the disqualification came at 4:29 of the fourth frame, making it the latest in company history. Ricardo Almeida’s repeated fouls against Matt Lindland at 4:21 of the third round held the record since UFC 31 in 2001.

No Better Time to Start: Before Yan delivered the illegal knee to halt the fight, no UFC bantamweight bout had ever ended by disqualification.

The Root of All Kneevil: All of the disqualifications in the UFC over the last three years came from illegally landed knees. Before that, C.B. Dollaway prevailed when Hector Lombard punched him repeatedly after the bell at UFC 222 in 2018.

Like T.J. Dillashaw: Islam Makhachev recorded the arm-triangle choke over Drew Dober to advance in the UFC lightweight rankings. Dober previously suffered a submission loss in 2016 to Oliver Aubin-Mercier and then won his next three fights. From there, he lost by submission to Beneil Dariush in 2019, and went on to win three more bouts before meeting Makhachev.

Even Distribution: Thiago Santos suffered his third consecutive loss when Aleksandar Rakic won an uninspired decision over him. The Brazilian now holds nine losses: three by knockout, three by tapout and another three by decision.

Cruz 6.0: Both Dominick Cruz and Casey Kenney were vying for their sixth win under the UFC banner, despite Cruz making his debut in 2011 and Kenney first joining the roster in 2019. Cruz won by decision.

Bullets Flying: Askar Askarov is a flawless 14-0-1 as a pro after winning a decision verdict over Joseph Benavidez. In victory, his career stoppage rate dropped to 79 percent – all three decision wins for “Bullet” have come in his last three appearances.

The Lone Win for City Kickboxing: Hitting an impressive comeback after losing the round badly, Kai Kara France flattened Rogerio Bontorin with punches to earn his first knockout since 2017 – a stretch of nine fights including all of his past UFC outings.

Hands Down, Chin Up: In the second round, Kennedy Nzechukwu ejected newcomer Carlos Ulberg from the ranks of the unbeaten in a wild brawl that earned the two “Fight of the Night” honors.

Brady Is A Good Name Lately: Steamrolling Jake Matthews and finishing the fight with an arm-triangle choke in the third round, Sean Brady remained unbeaten at 14-0 with his win.

Make Lemosade: Amanda Lemos battered Livinha Souza to force a first-round finish on the prelims. As a pro, “Amandinha” now maintains a career finish rate of 89 percent, with most of her stoppages coming by knockout.

Call the Doctor: Now 7-0 by clobbering Aalon Cruz to make his successful organizational debut, Uros Medic has finished all seven of those foes within two rounds.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into UFC 259, Bontorin (19 fights) and Mario Bautista (nine fights) had never been knocked out, Souza had never been finished (16 fights) and Cruz had never dropped consecutive bouts (11 fights).

The Dude Abides: Tim Elliott walked out to “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” by The First Edition, and he won a decision over Jordan Espinosa. He is the first fighter in recorded UFC walkout music history to use any song involving Kenny Rogers.

Estuans Interius, Ira Vehementi, Sephiroth: Against Elliott, Espinosa countered with “One Winged Angel” composed by Nobuo Uematsu from the “Final Fantasy VII” game soundtrack. Like his opponent and Kenny Rogers, Espinosa is also the first to use a track composed by this legendary video game composer.

It’s Making Me Crazy: In another first for the UFC, Ulberg is now the only fighter to ever pick “How Bizarre” by 90s pop band OMC. The Kiwi did not get his hand raised at the end of the night.

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