The UFC started a two-show weekend with the weaker of their two cards. In the main event of the TUF 27 Finale, Israel Adesanya picked up his biggest MMA victory to date over veteran Brad Tavares. The main card also determined the two most recent winners of the UFC’s reality show. The highest DraftKings ended up coming on the undercard, where Gerald Meerschaert finished with 124.5 points. 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.
Israel Adesanya comes into his own against Brad Tavares
While this was Adesanya’s third win inside the UFC, this bout really was his coming out party. He thoroughly dismantled Tavares over the course of the five-round fight. He outlanded Tavares 119 to 40 on significant strikes and forced his opponent to land only 22 percent of his significant strike attempts. He also did a good job of varying his strikes. Of his 119 significant strikes, 61 landed to the head, 21 to the body and 37 to the legs. Despite coming from a kickboxing background, Adesanya showed impressive takedown defense. Tavares attempted 12 takedowns and finished only one. Not only did he stop takedowns, but he also prevented himself from getting stuck in the clinch along the cage. Plus, when he was in the clinch, he dominated the striking. In the position, he landed 12 significant strikes and absorbed only one. This fight seemed not only to be an impressive performance but a harbinger of future success.
Adesanya finished with the fifth-highest DraftKings score of the night. He earned 95.5 points based on his significant strikes and a pair of passes. While this score did not break the 100-point barrier, players should consider Adesanya in the future. Tavares is extremely durable and many of the shots Adesanya landed would likely have been knockdowns or finishes against other fighters.
Mike Trizano does enough to defeat Joe Giannetti
In the past, TUF finale bouts have been some of the most exciting fights. The lure of the “six-figure contract” has driven fighters to new heights. Unfortunately, this was not one of those fights. At times, Giannetti seemed uninterested in fighting and did not do anything close to enough to win. Trizano benefitted from that inactivity and took the fight. He landed 42 significant strikes compared to only 29 for Giannetti. The two combined to land only 12 significant head strikes in a 15-minute fight. Unlike the main event, this fight did very little to generate interest in either fighter.
Trizano’s 57 points was the lowest score for a winner on the card. He even finished behind, Tyler Diamond who lost on the card. While this performance and score is not a good sign for his future point scoring potential, many TUF winners have taken jumps after leaving the show and formalizing their training environment.
Brad Katona takes one-sided decision over Jay Cucciniello
In the other TUF finale bout, Katona at least did his job and looked like a prospect. He outlanded Cucciniello 71 to 14 on significant strikes. While he easily took the decision, he made an interesting stylistic decision in the final round. Through two rounds, Katona had outlanded Cucciniello 47 to 12 in terms of standing significant strikes. Despite that advantage, he took the fight to the floor in the final round to ice the decision.
Katona had the eighth-highest score on the night and finished with 84.5 points. While, he clearly won this fight, his lack of desire to finish could turn off DFS players in the future.
Alex Caceres edges Martin Bravo in a striking battle
Caceres excels when he is able to use his footwork to create striking angles. Bravo was more than happy to assist in this effort by continually walking forward and pressing the action. Caceres ate his fair share of shots, but he ended up outlanding Bravo 82 to 78 on significant strikes. Bravo scored three takedowns in the fight, but he was only able to land five significant strikes on the ground.
Caceres was able to put together a decent score. He finished with 74 points based on his significant strikes and a pass. At this level, he should consistently put up similar scores since he is not a big finisher. While Bravo’s hard charging did not allow him to win the fight, it did bump up his score. He finished with 54 points, which was the second-highest total for a losing fighter.
Roxanne Modafferi breaks through against Barb Honchak
This bout was basically even on the feet. When standing, Honchak slightly outlanded Modafferi on significant strikes 24 to 20. However, the ground was another story entirely. Honchak went for a throw in the second round, Modafferi reversed the position, ended up on top and finished the bout with strikes. For the fight, Modafferi outlanded Honchak 31 to zero on the ground.
Modafferi had never won, let alone finished anybody, in her UFC/Strikeforce career prior to this bout. While she finished with 112.5 points -- which was the fourth-highest total on the night -- she is not really a points threat going forward.
Alessio Di Chirico defeats Julian Marquez with well-rounded game
The story of this fight does not completely come across in the stats. The striking totals close, but Marquez was landing much more powerful shots. Di Chirico managed to outland Marquez 48 to 42 in terms of significant strikes. When Marquez was able to put together power shots, Di Chirico was able to change the pace of the fight with takedowns. Even though he only landed one significant ground strike in this fight, his four takedowns were vital to his success.
Being forced to go to his wrestling bumped up Di Chirico’s DraftKings score. He finished with 81 points for the decision victory. His score was the ninth highest score of the night.