This article is part of our Fight Stat Wrap series.
In a weekend of two UFC events, the TUF 26 Finale served as the proverbial appetizer. In the main event, Nicco Montano became the first ever UFC women's bantamweight champion with a win over late replacement Roxanne Modafferi. The following is a by-the-numbers recap that highlights the stats and milestones that stood out on the main card, with stats courtesy of FightMetric.com.
For DraftKings, the highest possible score was 702.5 points for a team composed of Nicco Montano, Ryan Janes, Sean O'Malley, Gerald Meerschaert, Gillian Robertson and Rachael Ostovich. Not only did Montano win the title, but she also finished with 158 DraftKings points. It was the highest score on the night.
Nicco Montano took the title with a victory over Roxanne Modafferi
Modafferi's striking has come a long way over her long career. However, Montano was the cleaner striker throughout this contest. She ended up outlanding Modafferi 186 to 132 on significant strikes, and she had the advantage in each and every round. While Montano did allow Modafferi to land a pair of takedowns, she shut down her opponent's attempts in the fourth and fifth rounds. After going 2-for-4 in the first three rounds, Modafferi missed all five of her attempts in the final two rounds.
Not only did Montano have the highest DraftKings score of the night, but also her 158 points would probably be the highest on most UFC cards. She earned 93 points from her significant strikes alone, but she also scored with five passes, three takedowns and a reversal.
Sean O'Malley showed off his volume striking against Terrion Ware
O'Malley previously showed that he is a gifted offensive striker on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series. That was on display here as well. He landed 9.4 significant strikes per minute, while absorbing only 5.87. Another interesting factor is his rate of striking output actually increased over the course of the fight. He attempted 14.2 significant strikes per minute in the first round. That rate jumped to 17.8 in round two and to 18.4 in the final round. Ware struggled to keep up. In the only round that he won, he attempted 24.8 per minute, but his rate fell to 17 attempts per minute in the final round.
O'Malley's volume striking approach will make him a consistent DraftKings resource. His biggest issue is his striking defense, but that really does not matter from a DFS perspective. As long as he can stay in fights and land strikes, he will continue to put up scores like the 115.5 he earned on Friday night. It was the third highest score of the night.
Lauren Murphy escaped with a decision win over Barb Honchak
Murphy waited until the end of the second round to go to her wrestling. She was competitive in the striking battle, but Honchak was getting the better of the exchange. Honchak landed 71 significant strikes, while Murphy only landed 59. It is hard to see how the judges gave this fight to Murphy, but her two takedowns over the final two rounds likely was a contributing factor. However, even with those two takedowns, she finished with zero significant strikes on the ground.
Murphy earned players 72.5 DraftKings points based on 59 significant strikes, one pass, two takedowns and the decision victory bonus.
Gerald Meerschaert avoided the submission game and finished Eric Spicely
Most Spicely fights will be contrasts of style, and this fight was not an exception. He clearly did not want to engage in the striking, while Meerschaert was looking to land huge blows. When Spicely did land a takedown in the first round, he was able to threaten with submissions, but he could not do damage with his striking. In the fight, he landed 59 total strikes but only 17 were considered significant per FightMetric. Meerschaert landed 36 significant strikes and finished the fight.
After finishing in the second round, Meerschaert earned players 103 DraftKings points. He earned points via significant strikes, a reversal, a knockdown and the second-round win bonus.
With help from the referee, DeAnna Bennett squeaked out a draw against Melinda Fabian
Bennett did very little to win this fight, so in that sense she should be happy with a draw. She spent the majority of the fight pushing her opponent into the cage and looking for takedowns. In a vacuum, this is an acceptable strategy, but Bennett failed on all 11 of her attempts. Fabian outlanded Bennett on significant head strikes 34 to 25 and seemed to be winning all of the striking exchanges. Bennett benefited greatly from a questionable point deduction from referee John McCarthy. Fabian did grab the cage to help avoid a takedown. However, there have been many more blatant fouls that did not result in a point deduction.
When it comes to MMA DFS, draws are not good for anyone. Without a winner, neither fighter received the win bonus and thus both fighters had subpar scores. Fabian had the 15th best score of the night, while Bennett had the 16th.
Brett Johns pulled off a rare submission against Joe Soto
Johns needed only 30 seconds to finish with only the second successful calf slicer submission in UFC history. Charles Oliveira is the only other fighter to finish with the hold when he bested Eric Wisely at UFC on Fox 2 in 2012. Johns showed that he is already a well rounded fighter. Prior to this fight, he had mostly been getting it done with his striking, as he outlanded his previous UFC opponents 105 to 81 on significant strikes.
DraftKings players probably would have liked to see this fight go a little longer. Johns was the favorite, and he more than took care of business. However, he won so quickly that he did not have time score many points and finished with only 90.5 points.