Fight Facts: UFC on ESPN 30

By: Jay Pettry
Aug 30, 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 buried its finals of “The Ultimate Fighter: Season 29” in a struggling ESPN card that lost much of its momentum in the weeks before it went down. Two new finalists earned UFC contracts, and several aging vets fell short against younger, hungrier upstarts. UFC on ESPN 30 featured a ligament-tearing heel hook, the rise of the “Giga Kick” launcher and the biggest in-Octagon upset of the year so far.

Giga Kicked: Giga Chikadze announced himself to the division by laying waste to Edson Barboza in the third round of their headliner. The Georgian has dropped each of his last five foes at least one time, including a pair of knockdowns on Barboza.

Cha-chingkadze: For the third fight in a row, Chikadze pocketed post-fight bonus money. His knockout of Barboza earned him a $50,000 check for “Performance of the Night,” as did his past triumphs over Jamey Simmons and Cub Swanson.

Battled Through Adversity: Bryan Battle emerged the victor of the middleweight portion of TUF 29 by tapping Gilbert Urbina with a rear-naked choke. Since starting his pro career off with a win by decision, all of Battle’s fights, win or lose, have ended within two rounds.

Ricky’s Looking for a Fight: Getting his hand raised by split decision over Brady Hiestand, Ricky Turcios won the bantamweight bracket of TUF 29. As “Pretty Ricky” previously appeared on the inaugural episode of Dana White's Contender Series, he is the first fighter to go through DWCS and then win a season of TUF.

Three-Section D-Rod: A decision win for Daniel Rodriguez over Kevin Lee notched the 16th win in the career of “D-Rod.” The 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu fighter posts a stoppage rate of 75 percent, with half of his wins coming by knockout and the other quarter by tapout.

Rearranged His Face and Name Too: In a non-TUF final matchup, Andre Petroski put Micheal Gillmore away with strikes in the third round. As a professional, Petroski’s finish rate remains perfect with six stoppages in six victories. He had never before competed into the third round.

Who Could Have Seen This Coming? Tapping -525 favorite Makhmud Muradov in the second frame, Gerald Meerschaert at +415 scored the biggest UFC betting upset of the year with his triumphant performance. Before “GM3” getting his hand raised, no underdog above +375 had won inside the Octagon in 2021.

As Many Subs as Muradov Has Wins: The Roufusport standout tapped Muradov with a rear-naked choke, thereby earning his 25th career submission win. Submissions account for 76 percent of the wins for “GM3” in a career that dates back to 2007.

The Power Translated Up: In under 20 seconds, Abdul Razak Alhassan demolished Alessio Di Chirico with a head kick. The Elevation Fight Team product kept his 100% knockout rate intact with the win.

Shedding the All-Turkey Label: Through his career that has seen Alhassan score 11 knockouts, all 11 have taken place in the opening round. Seven of those came in the first minute of the bout.

Not Much Judo in Head Kicks: The stopping clocking in at 17 seconds, “Judo Thunder” notched the quickest head kick knockout in UFC history. Nikita Krylov held the old record with his 25-second drubbing of Walt Harris at UFC on Fox 10 in 2014.

Live by the Head Kick…: Di Chirico’s previous victory came from a head kick of Joaquin Buckley in January. As a result, the Italian is the fifth fighter in organizational history to both win and lose bouts by head kick (Andre Fili, Holly Holm, Josh Thomson and Ronaldo Souza.

Manzo Means Beef: “Manzo” is also the third to win and lose via head kick in back-to-back billings, with both Fili and Souza achieving this distinction in consecutive past bouts.

Everyone Pointing Fingers: Due to two point deductions in the final round for eye pokes, Wellington Turman barely emerged with a decision win from two scores of 28-27 in his favor, while Sam Alvey received one of 28-27. Turman is the first fighter in promotional history to win a fight after losing two points in a three-round bout.

New Life at Light Heavy: A little over three minutes into the opening stanza, Dustin Jacoby stopped Darren Stewart with a barrage of punches. “The Hanyak” earned his 10th career win due to strikes, accounting for two-thirds of his wins.

All Day Aldrich: J.J. Aldrich needed three full rounds to defeat late replacement Vanessa Demopoulos. With her unanimous decision win, all six of her UFC victories have come at the hands of the judges.

I’m Tellin’ Y’all, It’s a Sabatage: Shredding Jamall Emmers’ knee with a heel hook, Pat Sabatini recorded a rare heel hook submission win in the opening round. He becomes the second featherweight in UFC history to elicit this kind of tapout, with the first Chase Hooper’s heel hook of Peter Barrett at UFC 256 in December.

Not Enough Mana: Unable to secure the knockout, Leomana Martinez still made good in his company debut by capturing a split decision over Guido Cannetti. The three-round win marked the first time “Manaboi” had ever won a fight beyond the second round.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into UFC on ESPN 30, Urbina had never been finished (seven fights); Gillmore (nine fights), Di Chirico (18 fights) and Stewart (21 fights) had never been knocked out and Hiestand (six fights) and Cannetti (13 fights) had never lost on the scorecards.

You Can Dance If You Want To: For the fifth fight in a row, Chikadze has selected traditional Georgian folk dance music as his walkout track, as performed by Xorumi. Chikadze has yet to taste defeat when accompanied by music from his native country.

Persona Non Grata: Twice so far this year – previously from Julian Erosa in June before getting knocked out by Seung Woo Choi – a fighter has walked out to a Jason Aldean song. Gillmore selected “I Took It With Me” by the UFC-averse country star, and like Erosa, he was finished by strikes.

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