This article is part of our Fight Stat Wrap series.
In the main event of UFC on ESPN 5, Colby Covington picked up perhaps the biggest win of his career with a one-sided decision over former champion Robbie Lawler. The victory will likely move him into contention for the welterweight title. The rest of the main card lacked star power, but there were still plenty of meaningful results. 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.
Antics aside, this was an overly impressive performance from Covington. Lawler seemed intent to survive early and turn it on in the later rounds. However, Covington's volume basically forced Lawler to physical exhaustion himself, even if he was employing a "rope-a-dope" strategy. In the early rounds, Covington did a good job mixing in his wrestling and making his opponent work. For the fight, he ended up going 10 for 18 on his takedown attempts. Even though he failed to register a single significant ground strike or a pass, he still made an impact with his grappling.
Somewhat surprisingly, Covington was able to control the striking portions of the fight as well. He relied on two factors. The constant threat of a takedown seemed to disrupt Lawler's rhythm. Covington also overwhelmed the former champion with volume. He set a new UFC record for a fight with 510 attempted significant strikes. He landed only 34 percent, but with that volume he still landed 179 significant strikes. Lawler, who also seems more interested in landing power, only managed to attempt 167 significant strikes and land 79.
Covington's volume approach to both striking and wrestling lead him to put up not only the highest DraftKings score of the night but also the highest score of the year. He finished with 169.5 points, which eclipsed Gregor Gillespie's 151.5-point performance from UFC fight Night 143.
Both fighters came out throwing power shots in this contest. Guida appeared to rock Miller before getting rocked himself. From that point, Miller jumped on his trademark guillotine and finished the fight in only 58 seconds. In the process, he tied Joe Lauzon for the most finishes in UFC lightweight history with 12. Both fighters are getting up there in age, but they remain more competitive than some of their contemporaries.
There were three first-round finishes on the card, including this bout. Miller finished with 91 points on DraftKings, which was the lowest score among those to finish in the first round. However, you can't really blame him since there wasn't time for much else.
So much of fighting is controlling distance. In this fight, Haqparast was the one who could close the distance and land strikes. Silva went zero for 35 on his significant head strikes in the fight. At the same time, Haqparast used the first round to judge the distance. Early in the second round, he jumped in landed three significant strikes at distance, scored a knockdown and finished the bout with another nine significant strikes on the floor. This was Haqparast's third-straight UFC win and his first finish for the promotion.
On a night with a lot of quick finishes, Haqparast's 90.5 point total on DraftKings was only the sixth-highest score of the night. Previously, his high scores had come via volume, but his newly-found knockout power could make him an interesting play in DFS going forward.
Even in 2019, fighters are able to survive without a well-rounded game. Meerschaert landed eight significant strikes in a little over 11 minutes of fight time. That equates to 0.68 significant strikes per minute, but he still won the fight. Giles was playing with fire by engaging Meerschaert in these scrambles. Eventually it cost him, and he submitted early in the third round. Meerschaert will continue to win against lesser grapplers, but eventually his game will have to grow and evolve.
For the third-round finish, Meerschaert earned players on DraftKings 69 points. It was the lowest score for a finishing fighter on the card.
Holtzman dropped Ma early in the fight, and that pretty much set the tone, as he was more active and more accurate throughout the contest. He attempted 92 significant strikes and landed 44. On the other hand, Ma tried to make it a wild brawl, as he is often willing to do. However, he landed only 16 of his 58 significant attempts. Eventually the referee stopped the fight after extensive swelling to Ma's eye. His disinterest in striking defense does make for exciting fights, but it can also lead to less-than-stellar performance like this one.
Holtzman finished with the second-highest score of the night on DraftKings. He earned players 116 points based only 44 significant strikes, three passes, one takedown, one knockdown and the second-round win bonus.
This was a relatively close fight that became a clear victory for Nzechukwu due to point deductions. Stosic outlanded Nzechukwu 60 to 50 on significant strikes overall, and he had the edge 29 to nine in the first round and 16 to 15 in the third round. However, he landed three low blows in the bout and ended up losing two points. Somehow, Stosic was still surprised he dropped the decision.
Nzechukwu basically escaped with the decision and that came across via his DraftKings score as well. He finished with only 55 points, which was the lowest score for a winning fighter on the night. It was also only five points ahead of Stosic, who dropped this fight.