This article is part of our Fight Stat Wrap series.
The biggest news coming out of UFC 229 was what happened after the final bell in the main event. However, there were plenty of exciting fights and meaningful results during the actual event. 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.
Khabib Nurmagomedov smothers Conor McGregor on the ground and finished via submission
One of the biggest questions coming into the fight was, could McGregor stop Nurmagomedov's wrestling and top position game. Unfortunately for him, the answer was a resounding no. Coming into this fight, McGregor had allowed his opponents to land six takedowns and three passes against him in 10 fights. In this fight alone, Nurmagomedov landed three takedowns, five passes and finished the fight via submission. In addition to the passes, Nurmagomedov was able to impose his top-position striking as well. He landed 45 significant strikes on the ground, while absorbing only six.
McGregor did have the advantage on the feet, but Nurmagomedov held his own. McGregor outlanded him 35 to 24 at distance and 10 to 1 in the clinch in terms of significant strikes. However, that advantage did little to halt Nurmagomedov's forward pressure, and the Russian fighter nearly dropped the former champion in the second round.
As far as DFS goes, Nurmagomedov finished with 105 points on DraftKings. He came in as the betting favorite despite McGregor have the bigger name, and he took care of business. His 105 points, were the sixth highest on the night.
Tony Ferguson continues to push forward against Anthony Pettis
Striking stats do not always tell the whole story of a fight, but they certainly do in this case. Ferguson outlanded Pettis 114 to 45 on significant strikes. He also diversified his targets, as he landed 66 to the head, 21 to the body and 27 to the legs. Pettis had his moments in the fight, and he even landed a knockdown in the second round. However, Ferguson is relentless when he is moving forward and throwing strikes. He attempted 19.4 significant strikes per minute in the the 10-minute fight.
Ferguson finished with the second-highest score of the night. He put together a 127-point score in DraftKings based entirely on his volume and the second-round finish bonus. Ferguson's striking volume not only overwhelms his opponents, but it also pads his score in DFS. High-volume fighters who also score finishes are some of the most valuable players on fight night.
Dominick Reyes continues hot start to UFC career against Ovince Saint Preux
From a technical perspective, Reyes is simply a better striker than Saint Preux. The vast majority of this fight was spent standing. In that position, Reyes outlanded Saint Preux 94 to 38 on significant strikes. Saint Preux tried to get the fight on the floor, but he failed on eight of his nine takedown attempts.
This was the first fight of Reyes' UFC run to go to a decision, but it probably should not have gone to the judges. Reyes seemingly dropped and finished Saint Preux near the final bell. However, the referee gave the former Tennessee football player time to recover and allowed the judges to render the verdict.
By taking home the decision victory instead of a third-round stoppage, Reyes earned 10 fewer points for DFS players. He finished with 87 points, but to players who finished 10 points away from a prize, the commission really dropped the ball.
Derrick Lewis scores historic comeback against Alexander Volkov
Volkov was absolutely dominant in this fight before Lewis finished the fight in the third round. In terms of significant strikes, Volkov had the advantage 121 to 39. However, Lewis only ended up needing 39 to land a knockdown and finish a fight. Per FightMetric, the deficit of 82 significant strikes is the largest in UFC history for a winning fighter. The previous record was held by Iuri Alcantara, who was outlanded by 71 significant strikes by Luke Sanders and still managed to win.
From a DraftKings perspective, this was one of the most interesting fights on the night. Lewis scored a knockdown and finished the fight. However, Volkov finished only five points behind in DraftKings. Lewis earned 79.5 points, while Volkov finished with 74.5. The scores accurately represent each fighter. If a player picked Lewis, it was likely due to the fact that he had the power to finish and not much else. If a player picked Volkov, it was because he was going to run up the score in terms of significant strikes. While both things happened, both fighters produced average scores.
Michelle Waterson dominates Felice Herrig in terms of ground strikes
Both fighters came into this fight thinking that they were going to get on top and win the ground striking battle. However, Waterson had the advantage in the fight. She outlanded Herrig 26 to 2 in terms of significant ground strikes. Even when Herrig did earn the top position, Waterson was all over her with strikes on the bottom. That was pretty much the story of the fight.
Waterson finished with the second-lowest score among winning fighters on the night. She earned 74 points ahead of only Jussier Formiga who finished with 55 points on the undercard. Going into this fight, many predicted that whoever spent the most time on top would win. Often in fights like that, the DraftKings scores stay low since it is hard to accumulate significant strikes on the ground.