UFC in 2021: A ridiculously robust look at the stats, streaks, skids and record-setters

Now that the year has come to a close, and with a major assist from UFC research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll, here are some of 2021’s most significant milestones from the events, the fights and individual performances in the octagon.

Event feats

UFC Octagon Girls

The UFC held 43 events in six different cities across two countries and two continents.

Within those events, there were 509 fights across 12 different weight classes (including catchweight bouts).

Those 509 fights combined for a total cage time of 96 hours, one minute and 48 seconds.

The longest event of the year was “UFC 263: Adesanya vs. Vettori 2” in in Glendale, Ariz., at 3 hours, 19 minutes and 32 seconds.

UFC 263’s total fight time of 3:19:32 set a single-event record for the company.

“UFC 259: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya” was just the third event in company history to feature 15 fights. UFC 2 and UFC on ESPN 14 were the others.

The shortest event of the year was “UFC Fight Night 197: Holloway vs. Rodriguez” in Las Vegas at 1 hour, 34 minutes and 57 seconds.

At those events, the UFC drew an announced total attendance of 160,134 for a live gate total of $54,239,706 (Note: live-gate was not announced for 18 events; 18 events had no crowd).

The highest reported attended event of the year was “UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2” in New York City (20,715), while the lowest attended events were 15 cards at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas with no crowd.

The highest reported income gate of the year was “UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor 3” in Las Vegas ($15,759,800) while the lowest reported income gates of the year were 15 cards at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas with no crowd.

Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler

In 2021, 182 fight-night bonuses were given out for a sum of $9.3 million.

UFC issued eight fight-night bonuses for the first time in company history at “UFC 269: Oliveira vs. Poirier” in Las Vegas.

“UFC Fight Night 194: Dern vs. Rodriguez” marked the first event in company history where all the fight-night bonuses were distributed to females.

In 2021, athletes were paid $6,167,500 in Promotional Guidelines Compliance money.

The most knockouts at a single event went to “UFC Fight Night 197: Holloway vs. Rodriguez” with eight.

UFC Fight Night 197 featured eight knockout results, tied with five other cards for the single-event record.

“UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2” featured 2,407 total strikes landed, a new single-event record.

“UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2” featured 1,973 significant strikes landed, a new single-event record.

The most submissions at a single event went to “UFC 267: Blachowicz vs. Teixeira” and “UFC 269: Oliveira vs. Poirier” with four each.

The most fights to go to a decision at a single event went to “UFC 263: Adesanya vs. Vettori 2” with 11, which is a single-event record for decisions.

“UFC on ESPN 22: Whittaker vs. Gastelum” became the first event with four consecutive split decision results.

“UFC Fight Night 187: Edwards vs. Muhammad” marked the first event in UFC history where two fights were ruled a no contest in the octagon.

Julianna Peña vs. Amanda Nunes

Betting favorites went 327-169. Thirteen fights ended in a draw, no contest or had even odds.

Betting favorites went 25-17 in event headliners. One main event ended in a draw, no contest or had even odds.

“UFC 267: Blachowicz vs. Teixeira” had the most favorites come through victorious, with 13 of 14 winning. On the flip side, seven underdogs won at “UFC on ESPN 27: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw.”

A total of 46 fighters officially missed weight for their respective contests. The 31 fighters in that group to compete went 13-18 in their respective bouts.

A total of 88 fighters made their UFC debut in 2021. Those fighters went 31-57. Debuting fighters who faced an opponent with at least one bout of UFC experience went 21-46.

A variety of circumstances caused a total of 27 UFC main event or co-main event fights to be adjusted, postponed or canceled entirely.

Weight class recap: Heavyweight

Francis Ngannou

Number of fights: 39
Knockouts: 22
Submissions: Two
Decisions: 15
Champion at beginning of year: Stipe Miocic
Champion at end of year: Francis Ngannou
Most fights in divisional history: Andrei Arlovski (36)
Longest winning streak in division: Ciryl Gane (7)
Most wins in divisional history: Arlovski (21)
Most stoppages in divisional history: Frank Mir and Derrick Lewis (13)
Most knockouts in divisional history: Lewis (13)
Most submissions in divisional history: Mir (8)
Most fight-night bonuses: Miocic (9)

Weight class recap: Light heavyweight

Glover Teixeira

Number of fights: 37
Knockouts: 15
Submissions: Four
Decisions: 18
Champion at beginning of year: Jan Blachowicz
Champion at end of year: Glover Teixeira
Most fights in divisional history: Jon Jones, Mauricio Rua and Ovince Saint Preux (22)
Longest winning streak in division: Magomed Ankalaev (7)
Most wins in divisional history: Jones (20)
Most stoppages in divisional history: Teixeira (13)
Most knockouts in divisional history: Chuck Liddell (9)
Most submissions in divisional history: Teixeira (7)
Most fight-night bonuses: Jones, Rua, Saint Preux and Teixeira (8)

Weight class recap: Middleweight

Israel Adesanya

Number of fights: 64
Knockouts: 21
Submissions: 14
Decisions: 27
Other: Two
Champion at beginning of year: Israel Adesanya
Champion at end of year: Adesanya
Most fights in divisional history: Michael Bisping (24)
Longest winning streak in division: Adesanya (10)
Most wins in divisional history: Bisping (14)
Most stoppages in divisional history: Anderson Silva (11)
Most knockouts in divisional history: Silva, Uriah Hall and Thiago Santos (8)
Most submissions in divisional history: Gerald Meerschaert (8)
Most fight-night bonuses: Silva (12)

Weight class recap: Welterweight

Kamaru Usman

Number of fights: 60
Knockouts: 16
Submissions: 10
Decisions: 33
Other: One
Champion at beginning of year: Kamaru Usman
Champion at end of year: Usman
Most fights in divisional history: Matt Brown (28)
Longest winning streak in division: Usman (15)
Most wins in divisional history: Georges St-Pierre (19)
Most stoppages in divisional history: Brown (14)
Most knockouts in divisional history: Brown (12)
Most submissions in divisional history: Demian Maia, Gunnar Nelson and Chris Lytle (5)
Most fight-night bonuses: Lytle (10)

Weight class recap: Lightweight

Charles Oliveira

Number of fights: 64
Knockouts: 24
Submissions: 12
Decisions: 27
Other: One
Champion at beginning of year: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Champion at end of year: Charles Oliveira
Most fights in divisional history: Jim Miller (36)
Longest winning streak in division: Oliveira (10)
Most wins in divisional history: Miller (20)
Most stoppages in divisional history: Miller and Joe Lauzon (13)
Most knockouts in divisional history: Dustin Poirier (8)
Most submissions in divisional history: Oliveira and Miller (9)
Most fight-night bonuses: Lauzon and Donald Cerrone (15)

Weight class recap: Featherweight

Alexander Volkanovski

Number of fights: 59
Knockouts: 15
Submissions: Four
Decisions: 39
Other: One
Champion at beginning of year: Alexander Volkanovski
Champion at end of year: Volkanovski
Most fights in divisional history: Max Holloway and Darren Elkins (23)
Longest winning streak in division: Arnold Allen (8)
Most wins in divisional history: Holloway (18)
Most stoppages in divisional history: Holloway (10)
Most knockouts in divisional history: Holloway (8)
Most submissions in divisional history: C. Oliveira (six)
Most fight-night bonuses: Holloway and Cub Swanson (9)

Weight class recap: Women’s featherweight

Amanda Nunes

Number of fights: Sox
Knockouts: One
Submissions: Two
Decisions: Two
Champion at beginning of year: Amanda Nunes
Champion at end of year: Nunes
Most fights in divisional history: Megan Anderson and Felicia Spencer (6)
Longest winning streak in division: Nunes (3)
Most wins in divisional history: Cris Cyborg (4)
Most stoppages in divisional history: Anderson (3)
Most knockouts in divisional history: Anderson, Cyborg and Spencer (2)
Most submissions in divisional history: Four fighters tied (1)
Most fight-night bonuses: Four fighters tied (1)

Weight class recap: Bantamweight

Aljamain Sterling

Number of fights: 60
Knockouts: 25
Submissions: Six
Decisions: 28
Other: One
Champion at beginning of year: Petr Yan
Champion at end of year: Aljamain Sterling
Most fights in divisional history: Urijah Faber and Pedro Munhoz (17)
Longest winning streak in division: Sterling and Merab Dvalishvili (6)
Most wins in divisional history: T.J. Dillashaw (13)
Most stoppages in divisional history: Marlon Vera (9)
Most knockouts in divisional history: Dillashaw (7)
Most submissions in divisional history: Faber and Rani Yahya (6)
Most fight-night bonuses: Dillashaw (8)

Weight class recap: Women’s bantamweight

Julianna Peña

Number of fights: 18
Knockouts: Four
Submissions: Three
Decisions: 11
Champion at beginning of year: Amanda Nunes
Champion at end of year: Julianna Peña
Most fights in divisional history: Raquel Pennington (14)
Longest winning streak in division: Karol Rosa (4)
Most wins in divisional history: Nunes (11)
Most stoppages in divisional history: Nunes (8)
Most knockouts in divisional history: Nunes (6)
Most submissions in divisional history: Ronda Rousey (3)
Most fight-night bonuses: Rousey (7)

Weight class recap: Flyweight

Brandon Moreno

Number of fights: 26
Knockouts: Seven
Submissions: Four
Decisions: 15
Champion at beginning of year: Deiveson Figueiredo
Champion at end of year: Brandon Moreno
Most fights in divisional history: Joseph Benavidez (19)
Longest winning streak in division: David Dvorak (3)
Most wins in divisional history: Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson (13)
Most stoppages in divisional history: Figueiredo and Johnson (7)
Most knockouts in divisional history: Benavidez (5)
Most submissions in divisional history: Johnson (5)
Most fight-night bonuses: Johnson (9)

Weight class recap: Women’s flyweight

Valentina Shevchenko

Number of fights: 42
Knockouts: 13
Submissions: Six
Decisions: 23
Champion at beginning of year: Valentina Shevchenko
Champion at end of year: Shevchenko
Most fights in divisional history: Gillian Robertson (11)
Longest winning streak in division: Shevchenko (8)
Most wins in divisional history: Shevchenko (8)
Most stoppages in divisional history: Robertson (6)
Most knockouts in divisional history: Shevchenko (4)
Most submissions in divisional history: Robertson (5)
Most fight-night bonuses: Five fighters tied (2)

Weight class recap: Strawweight

Rose Namajunas

Number of fights: 31
Knockouts: Eight
Submissions: Five
Decisions: 17
Other: One
Champion at beginning of year: Zhang Weili
Champion at end of year: Rose Namajunas
Most fights in divisional history: Angela Hill (19)
Longest winning streak in division: Carla Esparza and Amanda Lemos (5)
Most wins in divisional history: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (10)
Most stoppages in divisional history: Namajunas (5)
Most knockouts in divisional history: Jessica Andrade (3)
Most submissions in divisional history: Mackenzie Dern (4)
Most fight-night bonuses: Andrade (7)

Championship feats

Ciryl Gane

Aljamain Sterling became the first to claim a championship by disqualification when he got the bantamweight belt from Petr Yan at UFC 259.

Amanda Nunes became the first to record multiple title defenses in two divisions while simultaneously holding multiple belts.

Francis Ngannou became the first champion from Cameroon when he won the heavyweight title at UFC 260.

Rose Namajunas became the first female in history to have multiple title reigns in a single weight class when she reclaimed the strawweight belt at UFC 261.

Charles Oliveira won the title for the first time in his 28th octagon appearance at UFC 262, the most fights in company history.

Brandon Moreno became the first Mexico-born champion with his flyweight title win at UFC 263.

Ciryl Gane became the first French-born fighter in history to win a version of a title when he claimed the interim heavyweight belt at UFC 265.

Gane’s +82 significant strike differential against Derrick Lewis at UFC 265 is the largest margin in a UFC heavyweight title fight.

Glover Teixeira, 42, became the oldest first-time champion in history with his light heavyweight title win at UFC 267. Fabricio Werdum, 37, held the previous record.

Kamaru Usman’s three title defenses were the most among any UFC champion in 2021. He won at UFC 258, UFC 261 and UFC 268.

Julianna Pena became the eighth fighter in history to win a season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series and a UFC title with her win at UFC 269.

Individual feats

Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar

Max Holloway landed 445 significant strikes at UFC on ABC 1, a single-fight record. The previous high was 290. His 744 significant strike attempts were also a new single-fight record.

Holloway landed 447 total strikes at UFC on ABC 1, the single-fight record. The previous high was 361. His 746 total strike attempts were also a single-fight record.

Calvin Kattar became the third fighter in UFC history to earn a 42-point scorecard in a five-round fight at UFC on ABC 1. Gil Castillo and David Loiseau also achieved the dubious distinction.

Cory Sandhagen’s 28-second knockout at UFC Fight Night 184 marked the second fastest flying knee finish in history behind Jorge Masvidal’s five-second win at UFC 239.

Alistair Overeem suffered his 13th knockout loss in UFC/WEC/PRIDE/Strikeforce competition at UFC Fight Night 184, the most in combined organizational history.

Usman became the third fighter in UFC history to start 13-0 with the promotion when he won at UFC 258. Anderson Silva and Khabib Nurmagomedov also accomplished the feat.

Kennedy Nzechukwu earned a knockout despite a -64 deficit in significant strikes landed at UFC 259, the biggest statistical comeback for a light heavyweight bout and third overall in UFC history.

Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad at UFC Fight Night 187 was the second main event in UFC history to end in a no contest due to a fouled fighter behind unable to continue.

Grant Dawson’s knockout at the 4:59 mark of Round 3 at UFC on ESPN 21 tied the record for second latest stoppage in a three-round UFC fight. Ricky Simon holds the record (5:00, Round 3) at UFC Fight Night 128.

Alonzo Menifield became the fourth fighter to earn a submission victory by Von Flue choke when he won at UFC 260. Jason Von Flue, Ovince Saint Preux and Jordan Rinaldi also accomplished the feat.

Marvin Vettori landed 11 takedowns at UFC on ABC 2, the single-fight record for a middleweight bout.

Gerald Meerschaert set a new record for most submission wins in UFC middleweight history with his sixth at UFC on ESPN 22. He was previously tied with four others at five.

Andrei Arlovski

Andre Arlovski became the first heavyweight in history to reach 20 victories with his win at UFC on ESPN 22.

Jeff Molina landed 189 significant strikes at UFC 261 to set a new single-fight flyweight record.

Usman became the second fighter in history to start 14-0 with the promotion when he won at UFC 261. A. Silva also accomplished the feat.

Felipe Colares’ earned a decision victory at UFC on ESPN 23 despite a -40 significant strike differential, the largest deficit in featherweight history for the winner of a decision.

Jiri Prochazka earned the third spinning back elbow knockout in history at UFC on ESPN 23. Ricardo Ramos and Dong Hyun Kim also accomplished the feat.

Oliveira set a new record for most stoppage wins in company history with his 17th at UFC 262.

Terrance McKinney recorded the fastest debut in company history with is seven-second knockout at UFC 263.

Marcin Prachnio earned the third body kick knockout in light heavyweight history at UFC Fight Night 190. Jan Blachowicz and Rich Franklin also accomplished the feat.

Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor

Dustin Poirier set the record most knockouts in lightweight history with his eighth at UFC 264.

Jeremy Stephens suffered his 18th loss at UFC on ESPN 26, extending his record for most in company history.

Vicente Luque claimed sole possession of the record for most D’Arce choke submission wins with his fourth at UFC 265.

Wellington Turman became the first fighter to be deducted 2 points in a three-round fight and win a decision at UFC on ESPN 30.

Abdul Razak Alhassan earned the fastest head-kick finish in company history with his 17-second win at UFC on ESPN 30.

Matthew Semelsberger became the second fighter in history to earn multiple knockouts of 20 seconds or less with his win at UFC 266. Anthony Johnson also accomplished the feat.

Alexander Volkanovski became the fifth in history to start 10-0 with the promotion with his win at UFC 266. A. Silva, Usman, Nurmagomedov and Royce Gracie also accomplished the feat.

Vettori landed 190 significant strikes at UFC Fight Night 196, a single-fight record for a light heavyweight fight.

Yan and Sandhagen combined for 318 significant strikes landed at UFC 267, a new single-fight bantamweight record.

Chris Barnett became the first heavyweight to earn a knockout stemming from a spinning wheel kick at UFC 268.

Shane Burgos vs. Billy Quarantillo

Shane Burgos and Billy Quarantillo combined for 357 significant strikes landed at UFC 268, the single-fight record for a three-round bout.

Usman became the second fighter in history to start 15-0 with the promotion when he won at UFC 268. A. Silva also accomplished the feat.

Holloway became the first fighter in history to land 3,000 or more strikes in the octagon in a career during his win at UFC Fight Night 197.

Holloway landed 200 or more significant strikes for the third time at UFC Fight Night 197, the most such performances in history.

Holloway is the only fighter history to complete 25 octagon appearances without suffering a knockdown. He accomplished the feat with his bout at UFC Fight Night 197.

Sean Soriano became the third fighter to start 0-5 in the octagon with his loss at UFC Fight Night 198. John Alessio and Naoyuki Kotani are the others.

Claudio Puelles became the first fighter to earn multiple submission victories by kneebar with his victory at UFC on ESPN 31.

Jose Aldo’s -63 significant strikes landed deficit (86 vs. 149) at UFC on ESPN 31 is the second largest margin in history for a fighter who won by decision. Robbie Lawler holds the record with decision victory over Carlos Condit at UFC 195 (92 vs. 176).

Oliveira added to his record for most stoppages in UFC history with his 18th at UFC 269.

Oliveira was awarded his 18th fight-night bonus at UFC 269, tied with Donald Cerrone for most in history.

Justin Tafa became the first heavyweight to miss weight at UFC Fight Night 199, coming in one pound over the divisional limit.

Jordan Leavitt earned the third submission in history to stem from a reverse triangle with his win at UFC Fight Night 199. Cole Miller and Olivier Aubin-Mercier also accomplished the feat.

Lewis took sole possession of the record for most knockouts in history with his 13th at UFC Fight Night 199.

Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/lists/ufc-2021-by-the-numbers-year-end-stats-streaks-records-history

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