Fight Facts: UFC on ESPN 22

By: Jay Pettry
Apr 19, 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 came and went with an ESPN card that fell to 10 matches before it was all over. All was not lost for UFC on ESPN 22, which brought to light a legitimate contender to the middleweight throne. The decision-filled event brought a few oddities, including an ultra-rare technical decision, a heavyweight veteran still doing his thing and a fighter making her triumphant return after a rough seven-year patch.

Sharpening His Scythe: It took 25 minutes for Robert Whittaker to defeat Kelvin Gastelum, but he got his hand raised by unanimous decision. This three-bout win streak is the longest finish drought of his career, as “The Reaper” had never gone more than two wins without stopping his adversary in the past.

And Many More! Former heavyweight king Andrei Arlovski won his 20th fight inside the Octagon, prevailing by decision over Chase Sherman. In the process, he exceeded his own record in the division, which is trailed most closely by Derrick Lewis (16). Frank Mir also won 16 times in the UFC, but he is now a boxer.

Fangs and All: Arlovski became the seventh fighter in organizational history to amass 20 wins with the promotion. Even though he left the UFC from 2008 to 2014, he made his UFC debut at UFC 28 in 2000.

All Bark, Plenty of Bite: “The Pit Bull” also appeared for the 35th time under the UFC banner, where he still remains with the third most among all fighters. Donald Cerrone (36) and Jim Miller (37) are the only two to compete more often.

Arlovski 6.0 or So: His victory on the scorecards was Arlovski’s ninth as a UFC fighter. No other heavyweight has even won more than five bouts by decision.

Glass Cannon Shattered: By dropping a decision to Jacob Malkoun, Abdul Razak Alhassan has still yet to win a fight that went past the 3:47 mark of the opening round.

Leave No Tracy: Elevated to the main card when Jeremy Stephens vs. Drakkar Klose was called off after Klose suffered an injury at the weigh-ins, Tracy Cortez earned a split decision win over Justine Kish. The 27-year-old has reached the scorecards in seven of nine wins, including each of her last five.

Technically Correct – The Best Kind of Correct: A knee to the groin of Alexander Romanov put a halt to the fight at 1:05 of Round 3, resulting in a rare technical decision. As the scorecards were split, the call was the very first technical decision of the split variety in UFC history.

Rumblin’, Bumblin’ and Stumblin’: Going 75 seconds into the third round, Romanov’s bout with Juan Espino is his second longest, with “King Kong” still never going the full distance. His finish rate did drop from 100 percent to 93 percent due to his decision win.

Penne for Your Thoughts: Jessica Penne came back after nearly four years away to capture a split nod over Lupita Godinez. The win was Penne’s first since December 2014 – at that time, seven fighters that appeared at UFC on ESPN 22 had yet to join the roster, while another nine had not yet made their professional debuts.

Sang Him A Lullaby and Everything: Snapping a two-fight first-round knockout skid, Gerald Meerschaert rebounded by putting Bartosz Fabinski to sleep with a guillotine choke. A full 75 percent of the wins for “GM3” have come by submission.

Call Him Mr. Sandman: Meerschaert last ended a losing streak in 2019, after dropping bouts to Jack Hermansson and Kevin Holland. Following that against Trevin Giles, he put the Houston native out with a guillotine choke. Similarly, Meerschaert had recently lost bouts to Ian Heinisch and Khamzat Chimaev, and went on to render Fabinski unconscious with his guillotine.

Show No Mercy: Each of Meerschaert’s seven UFC wins has come inside the distance. Now with a stellar 94 percent finish rate, the Roufusport product has scored stoppages in his last 14 victories.

Three for GM3: The technical submission was Meerschaert’s third as a UFC fighter, tying him with Mir for the most in organizational history. He now holds the most to come from chokes, as Mir snapped Tim Sylvia’s arm with an armbar and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s with a kimura along the way.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into UFC on ESPN 22, Alex Munoz had never lost consecutive bouts (seven fights), Espino had never lost on the scorecards (11 fights) and Godinez had never been defeated (five fights).

Truly Can’t Be Touched: A staple for former champ Whittaker, he made his walk to the cage accompanied by “Can’t Be Touched” by Roy Jones Jr.’s rap group Body Head Bangerz. “Bobby Knuckles” is a perfect 12-0 when using this song.

For Earl: Not one but two fighters walked out to DMX tracks on this card: Munoz selected “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” while Meerschaert went with “What’s My Name” by the fallen rap legend. Meerschaert did him justice, winning by technical submission; Munoz dropped a contentious split decision to Luis Pena.

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