This article is part of our Fight Stat Wrap series.
Former UFC and WEC lightweight champion made the move up to welterweight to face Stephen Thompson in the main event of UFC Nashville. It turned out to be a good move as he stopped Thompson in dramatic fashion at the end of the second round. In the co-main event, Curtis Blaydes dominated Justin Willis to hold his spot in the heavyweight rankings. 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 UFCStats.com.
For the majority of the fight, Thompson was getting the better of the striking exchanges. Overall he outlanded Pettis 47 to 32 of significant strikes. He was much more active as he attempted 107 significant strikes compared to only 55 for Pettis. However, in the end, the former lightweight champion landed the only strike that mattered. He landed only five significant head strikes in the fight, but the superman punch was more than enough to end the night for Thompson.
Despite scoring five knockdowns through his first 10 UFC/WEC fights, this was only Pettis' second knockdown since 2013. It is entirely possible that the move to welterweight could have allowed him to retain his power instead of being drained due to a weight cut. It could also be a disturbing sign for Thompson. He has now been knocked down in four of his last five bouts. While he is elusive and has solid striking defense overall, his style does leave him open for occasional power shots. If his chin has really gone south, he may struggle to be competitive against higher-level fighters in this division.
On the DraftKings front, Pettis finished with the fourth-highest score of the night at 96 points. This really says more about the card than anything considering there were only two scores north of 100 points on the entire event. However, considering Pettis was a rather large underdog, any player who took a chance on him deserves the points.
This was a long and tough night for Willis. He had no answers for Blaydes' wrestling and he spent the majority of the fight being taken down or dominated on the floor. Blaydes landed seven of his 11 takedown attempts, advanced on the ground four times and landed 13 significant ground strikes. In the 15-minute fight, Willis managed to land only two significant strikes. While this was an impressive performance from Blaydes, it did not really answer a lot of questions. The former junior college national champion can obviously score takedowns against lesser wrestlers. However, he will need to improve his overall game for when he runs up against those who are harder to drag to the floor.
Despite the domination, Blaydes managed to earn players only 88 points on DraftKings. He came up short in terms of significant strikes. While he landed 72 total strikes, only 22 were deemed to be significant by the official scorer.
Commentator Daniel Cormier would have you believe that this was a close fight. That was absurd at the time and perhaps more absurd in retrospect. Yes, the fight was mostly uneventful. However, Makdessi controlled the range and easily won the striking battle. He outlanded Pinedo 73 to 37 in terms of significant strikes overall and none of the rounds were close in terms of strike count. Pinedo's only hope was to close the distance and land power shots. Instead, he fought at Makdessi's range and pace, which was a very poor strategy.
Makdessi did not really fill out the stat sheet, but his 73 significant strikes and the decision win bonus left him with 66.5 points on DraftKings. While that is normally a disappointing score, there were four other winning fighters on the night who scored lower.
This was a masterful performance from Formiga and shows that he has made impressive strides as an MMA fighter. Formiga has always been an opportunistic ground fighter who can use small openings to advance to dominant positions. That was certainly on display here as he passed seven times in the fight. In the past, his wrestling has really let him down, but here he was able to score three of his five takedown attempts.
The most impressive aspect of this fight was how he was able to use the threat of grappling to set up his striking. Figueiredo was obviously the more skilled striker. However, he was so concerned with takedowns that he allowed Formiga to win the striking exchanges. The former Shooto world champion outlanded Figueiredo 26 to 14 overall, but he shockingly took the distance striking as well 15 to nine. Formiga has been fighting in the UFC since 2012, and this was only the third time he has outlanded an opponent in terms of significant strikes.
Formiga earned players 79 points on DraftKings, which was the sixth highest score of the night. His takedowns and ground work heavily impacted his score. With only striking and the decision win bonus, he would have finished with only 43 points.
Pena seemed to have the striking edge in this fight, but he could maintain proper striking distance. Peterson scored on four of his eight takedowns. Even when he failed on his takedowns, he used the attempt to set up position on the cage and nullifying Pena's superior striking. For the fight, Pena outlanded Peterson 52 to 34 on his significant strikes. His biggest advantage came in terms of head strikes where he outlanded his opponent 43 to 15.
The fact that Pena missed weight may have chased away some DraftKings players. In the end, he still earned 74 points, which on an ordinary night would have been disappointing. However, on a night with low scores, it was the seventh highest of the night.
Maycee Barber gets it done in the second against JJ Aldrich
It took Barber a round to really get on track in this fight. She outlanded Aldrich 23 to 17 on significant strikes in the opening frame, but Aldrich seemed to be the one setting the pace. However, the second round was a different story. She outlanded Aldrich 32 to eight including a 20 to four differential at distance and a 12 to four differential in the clinch. Barber will certainly face tougher competition in this division, but she retains her status as a top prospect for at least one more fight.
Her striking volume helped push her to a high score on DraftKings. Her 97.5 points left her with the third highest score of the night, and the highest score on the main card. She finished behind only Marlon Vera and Randa Markos who had the only two first round finishes on the show.