This article is part of our Fight Stat Wrap series.
UFC Fight Night 96 might not have featured the biggest names, but there were still some standout statistical events that deserve attention. The following is a by-the-numbers look back at the biggest takeaways and stories from the UFC's first trip to Portland since 2009, with stats courtesy of FightMetric.com.
John Lineker rides persistent output to decision over John Dodson
Numbers do not always tell the whole story. Dodson outlanded Lineker 101 to 93 over the course of their five-round main event. On top of that, Dodson also landed more significant strikes in three of the five rounds. On the surface, this would appear to make him the winner. However, Lineker was landing with the better and harder strikes in almost all of the exchanges during rounds two, three and four. The prevailing sentiment among the media is that Lineker did enough to win a close decision. Per MMADecisions.com, 15 media members scored it for the Brazilian and only eight had it for Dodson.
The biggest thing that jumps off the stat sheet is the difference in the number of attempts thrown. In the fight, Lineker attempted 322 significant strikes, while Dodson managed only 191 – a difference of 131 attempts. This is not to take anything away from Lineker, but if you look at it from a judge's perspective it would be hard to see him losing this type of decision while throwing that many strikes. Despite the adage that judges "have the best seat in the house," the sightlines are terrible and it is difficult to tell whether a strike lands or not. Judges have always rewarded persistent output, which is how someone like Diego Sanchez has been able to defeat John Alessio, Ross Pearson and Martin Kampmann while getting the worse of the striking exchanges.
Alex Oliveira beats Will Brooks at his own game
Coming into the UFC, one of the knocks against Brooks was that he is not a very exciting fighter. When he gets into trouble, he is not afraid to go to his wrestling and smother an opponent. Against Marcin Held at Bellator 145, he appeared to pop his knee early in the contest, but he fought on and took the decision. He could not duplicate that here. Oliveira was equal to Brooks in the wrestling game, as they both landed four takedowns. In some ways, it looked as if Brooks had the technique advantage, but Oliveira was just too big after missing weight by nearly six pounds. This issued was magnified after Brooks suffered a rib injury. From there, Oliveira took him down and finished the fight.
Both of the fighters were content to push for the clinch and work inside. There were only 11 combined significant strikes landed at distance (that is, standing and not in the clinch). The close range fighting resulted in extremely high striking accuracies, as Oliveira landed 81 percent of his significant attempts and Brooks landed 94 percent.
Josh Burkman's defense lets him down against Zak Ottow
Since returning to the UFC in 2015, Burkman has now gone 1-4 in the Octagon. During the stretch, he has landed 3.00 significant strikes per minute, which is actually well above his career mark of 2.70. However, he has been extremely easy to hit. During that same time period, he has allowed his opponents to land 3.37 significant strikes per minute. Ottow, who took this fight on short notice, did even better, as he landed 4.33 per minute. Burkman is not going to win many fights eating more strikes than he lands.
For Ottow, this was a pretty big win. With the victory, he moved up 126 spots in the FightMatrix.com rankings and finds himself in the top 100 for the first time at No. 85. His previous high ranking was No. 181.
Brandon Moreno chokes away Louis Smolka's momentum
Moreno, who recently fell in the first round of the TUF 24 tournament, now has nine submissions in 12 wins. This was his first guillotine-choke submission. His average submission time is 3:44.
Coming into this fight, Smolka was both the biggest betting favorite and the highest priced DraftKings fighter. Players who chose Smolka ended up with only 9 points, which his lowest point total to date by far. His previous low was 34. Prior to this fight, Smolka had never been submitted. During his UFC run, he had allowed his opponent's nine submission attempts but had never tapped.