Fight Facts: UFC on ESPN 19

By: Jay Pettry
Dec 7, 2020

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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 burst into flames on fight night but still managed to make it to air with an eight-fight offering that brought plenty of nasty knockouts to go around. UFC on ESPN 19 featured a devastating slam finish, a gang of unbeaten fighters staying perfect and an instant classic in the headliner.

Fulfilling Contractual Obligations: Only eight bouts took place on this card when the dust settled. This is the third event this year to go on with eight fights or less; UFC Fight Nights 173 and 176 were the first two. 2014 is the last year in which this many events took place with as few bouts, when The Ultimate Fighter China Finale, UFC Fight Night 39 and UFC 177 all had eight fights on their respective nights.

No Sweat: Four unbeaten fighters competed at this event: Jamahal Hill, Roman Dolidze, Jordan Leavitt and Ilia Topuria. All four ended their nights with their spotless records intact.

Relocation Special: Two bouts on this event were initially scheduled to take place at UFC Fight Night 182 on Nov. 14, only to fall through for various reasons. Justin Jaynes and Gabriel Benitez were supposed to square off at “UFC Vegas 14,” as were Louis Smolka and Jose Alberto Quinonez.

Star of Italy: UFC on ESPN 19 is the first event in company history to be headlined by an Italian fighter. Prior to Vettori’s historic top billing, the highest card position by an Italian had belonged to Alessio Sakara, who fought Brian Stann in the co-main event of UFC on Fuel 2 in 2012. Sakara was knocked out in the first round.

Bel Sogno: Since 2019, Vettori has strung together four consecutive victories over Cezar Ferreira, Andrew Sanchez, Karl Roberson and now Hermansson. “The Italian Dream” now sports the lengthiest winning streak of any Italian to ever compete inside the Octagon.

Hill Climber: Hill has not tasted defeat as a professional, and he finished Ovince St. Preux with strikes to earn his eighth career win. Half of Hill’s victories have come by knockout, with the other half going to the scorecards.

Leavitt into Orbitt: Leavitt earned his first career knockout when he slammed Matt Wiman unconscious. All five of his previous stoppages in his undefeated career have come by tapout within two rounds.

Quit Monkeying Around: “The Monkey King” recorded the stoppage at the 22-second mark, earning the second-quickest slam knockout in UFC history along with Frank Shamrock’s smashing of Igor Zinoviev. The fastest came from Joshua Burkman, who slammed Sam Morgan into unconsciousness in just 21 seconds at The Ultimate Fighter 2 Finale in 2005.

Not So Handsome Anymore: Matt Wiman returned for the third time since his four-and-a-half-year absence from the sport to lose to Leavitt. The last time Wiman won a fight was in 2014, when Leavitt was still three years away from making his professional debut.

Check Your Figures: Leavitt’s slam knockout was the 16th in promotional history, and the second this year, the first coming when Kevin Holland smashed Charlie Ontiveros in October. It was the second overall from a UFC lightweight, with the first a suplex from Rustam Khabilov over Vinc Pichel at The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale in 2012.

Hawaii Back on the Map: Smolka clobbered Quinonez in the second round to lift his 15-fight UFC record above .500. The former flyweight now posts a career stoppage rate of 88 percent, and all of the Hawaiian’s last eight wins have come by finish.

Topuria of the World: By knocking out Damon Jackson in just over half a round, Ilia Topuria advanced to a perfect 10-0 as a pro. The Spaniard has notched nine finishes in that stretch, with eight taking place in the opening frame.

But How Many Did This by Moving Up? Jake Collier took a decision to record his first win as a heavyweight. Previously scoring wins in the past at middleweight and light heavyweight, he is now part of a small number of fighters – 13 in total – to win fights in three different weight classes. He joins names like Kenny Florian, Jared Cannonier and Frankie Edgar with this accomplishment.

Erasing the Chalk Parlay: Seven of the eight winning fighters closed as favorites coming into this event. The only betting underdog to prevail was Collier, who entered his bout with Gian Villante at +165.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into UFC on ESPN 19, Vettori had never competed beyond the third round (20 fights), Jaynes had never been knocked out (21 fights) and Dolidze had never gone the distance (seven fights).

He’s Got the Biggest Balls of Them All: Well over 100 times in the UFC, a fighter has walked out to a song by AC/DC. Despite this, Leavitt is the first on record to use “Big Balls” by the legendary Australian rock band; the newcomer wrecked his opponent in the first round.

A Regular Jordan Chase: Wiman made his own walk to the cage accompanied by a musical rendition of a motivational speech by Dr. Eric Thomas titled “Year of the Grind.” Wiman did not fare well as the first man to walk out to this speaker.

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