Fight Facts: UFC on ESPN 28

By: Jay Pettry
Aug 2, 2021

Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream the UFC live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.

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 barely reached the finish line with 10 fights at UFC on ESPN 28, with an event that brought a single ranked matchup. The night started slow but ended about as well as it could, given the circumstances. This card featured a staggeringly low number of fighters with UFC records above .500, while bringing one of the quickest knockouts in UFC 115-pound history and the highest number of scoring significant strikes in the company’s middleweight division.

ESPN Cards Used to Mean Something: Across the 20 fighters that competed at this event, just three came in with winning UFC records – Uriah Hall, Sean Strickland and Bryan Barberena. The night ended with three, as Melsik Baghdasaryan won his promotional debut, while Barberena dropped to 6-6 inside the Octagon.

We Some Head Bussas: Both Cheyanne Buys and Baghdasaryan won with head kick knockouts. UFC on ESPN 28 is now the eighth card in company history, and first since UFC 245, to feature multiple knockouts stemming from head kicks.

Hall Will Be Sore Tomorrow: Putting 186 significant strikes on Hall to win a unanimous decision in the main event, Strickland successfully connected on the most significant strikes in a UFC middleweight match. The previous record was held by Deron Winn when he lumped Eric Spicely up with 169 at UFC Fight Night 154 in 2019.

Low-Hanging Fruit: With Strickland’s 186 significant strikes landed combined with Hall’s 107 in return, the 293 significant strike total is the most in any middleweight bout in UFC history. Marvin Vettori and Jack Hermansson previously added up to 286 at UFC on ESPN 19 in 2020.

Obviously, She Got a Bonus: Bouncing back from her unsuccessful UFC debut, Cheyanne Buys smashed Gloria de Paula with a head kick and follow-up punches in 60 seconds. Buys’ stoppage clocked in as the fourth fastest among UFC women’s strawweight history, with the record Poliana Botelho’s 33-second drubbing of Syuri Kondo at UFC Fight Night 129 in 2018.

Choo Choo, Mister Falcons: Earning his first UFC win on short notice, Jared Gooden wrecked Niklas Stolze with one punch in just over a minute. “Nite Train” lifted his career finish rate to 78 percent, with stoppages in each of his last five victories, all within the first two rounds.

Gunning Down the Opposition: Young in his pro career and earning his sixth win, Baghdasaryan flattened Collin Anglin with a head kick. “The Gun” has won five of six by knockout, and this was the first time he had finished a fight outside of the opening frame.

A Headhunter’s Headhunter: A rarity among striking, even for those known as headhunters, Barberena connected with exactly 50 significant strikes, and 100 percent of them landed to Jason Witt’s head.

Always a New Horizon: With one judge awarding the fight to Danny Chavez and the other two having it even, Danny Chavez vs. Kai Kamaka III was the first fight in UFC featherweight history to end up as a majority draw. Each of the past draws at 145 pounds had been split, with one tally to one fighter, one to the other and a third tied.

It Is What It Is: As a pro, Ashley Yoder is now 8-8 with eight losses on the scorecards following her decision loss to Jinh Yu Frey. She has never been finished as a pro, with a 50 percent submission rate when she wins.

150 Minutes of Yoder: “The Spider Monkey” has gone the distance in every single one of her 10 UFC outings. She is the first woman in UFC history, and the second fighter overall – Enrique Barzola was the first – to reach this distinction.

Sitting in Judgment: As her seven UFC losses have all come by judges’ verdict, Yoder is one shy of the women’s divisional record currently held by Jessica Eye.

The Galaxy is On Philip’s Belt: Putting “Galaxy” Orion Cosce away in the second round, Philip Rowe scored his eighth victory as a pro. All eight of those wins have come by stoppage, with half by knockout and half by tapout.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into UFC on ESPN 28, Hall had never competed beyond the fourth round (26 fights); de Paula (eight fights), Stolze (16 fights) and Anglin (nine fights) had never been knocked out and Cosce had never been defeated (seven fights).

She’s Coming: Following her musical choice of the mashup titled “I’m Coming” that features Diana Ross, Buys laid waste to her opponent de Paula in Round 1. “The Warrior Princess” became the first fighter in UFC history to use a Diana Ross song.

Elvis’ Top Five: Picking “If I Can Dream” by Elvis Presley as his walkout song, Gooden smote Stolze in the first round. Gooden is not the first, but the fifth fighter in organizational history to use a track from “The King,” joining a crew that includes Elvis Sinosic, T.J. Waldburger, Daron Cruickshank and Danny Mitchell.


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