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Fight Stat Wrap: UFC 221 Recap

Richard Mann

Richard is a statistical MMA analyst that has appeared on ESPN MMA via Fightmetric.

Even though he bested Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC 221, Yoel Romero did not become the interim middleweight champion after missing weight. Despite that, he will likely be the next challenger to UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. The rest of the card was an interesting mix of prospects and veterans who played well to the local crowd. 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

Yoel Romero picked up another third-round finish over Luke Rockhold

For the sixth time in his UFC career, Romero scored a third-round stoppage. While Rockhold outlanded Romero in the first round 18 to 10, Romero turned it on in the second and landed 24 while absorbing only 17. It appears as if it took him a round to find his range. He landed 37 percent of his significant strikes in the opening frame, but he landed 52 percent and 57 percent in the next two rounds respectively. Coming into this fight, 47 percent of Rockhold's sig strikes came on the ground, but in this fight he could not land any.

Romero scored 77.5 DraftKings points in the fight. He landed 45 significant strikes and a knockdown. His penchant for late-round finishes often dings his score. The third-round finish bonus (45 points) is significantly lower than the first-round finish bonus (90 points).

Curtis Blaydes dominated Mark Hunt on the floor

Blaydes went to his wrestling game early and often against Hunt. The Pride FC veteran did manage to score a knockdown, but he could not stay off the ground. Blaydes finished with 10 takedowns and 10 passes in this fight. He also landed 56 significant strikes with 44 coming on the ground. Per FightMetric, with 10 takedowns, Blaydes tied Jake O'Brien for the second most takedowns landed in a UFC heavyweight fight. Cain Velasquez holds the record with 11 over Junior dos Santos at UFC 155.

Even though the fight went to decision, Blaydes finished with a staggeringly high score. Based on his takedowns and passes, he earned players 138 points in DraftKings. That score was the highest of the night and the second highest of 2018.

Tai Tuivasa made quick work of Cyril Asker

This was about as one-sided as a fight can get. Tuivasa landed 38 significant strikes at a 74 percent clip while absorbing only three significant strikes. In two UFC fights, Tuivasa has outlanded his opponents 60 to 13 and scored two first-round knockouts.

Tuivasa had the third-highest DraftKings score of the night. He put up 109 points based on his 38 significant strikes and the 90-point first-round finish bonus.

Jake Matthews mixed up his game well against Li Jingliang

Matthews badly needed this win, and he got it done with a diverse fighting game. He landed 63 significant strikes and mixed in a pair of takedowns in the final round to seal the fight. Matthews also landed a pair of knockdowns with one coming in the first round and the second coming in the final round. Prior to this fight, Matthews had been outlanded in three straight fights. Against Jingliang, he finished with a 14 significant strike advantage.

In terms of DFS, Matthews got a boost thanks to his two 10-point knockdowns. He finished with 103.5 DraftKings point on the night, which was the fifth-highest score of the event.

Tyson Pedro was ready for the ground against Saparbek Safarov

In his previous fight, Pedro struggled when his opponent wanted to wrestle. He gave up four takedowns against Ilir Latifi and lost the fight via decision. In this fight, Pedro gave up a pair of takedowns, which lowered his takedown defense rate to 53 percent in the UFC. However, this time he was able to go use his submission game and pull out a submission on the ground. After four fights in the UFC, Pedro has finished 100 percent of his submission attempts.

In DraftKings, Pedro failed to break the 100-point barrier and finished with 96 points. Outside of the 90-point first-round finish bonus he only scored points with 12 significant strikes.