In this week’s edition of By the Numbers, we take a look at some of the interesting facts and figures that weigh into the UFC 146 card. From the time the card was announced, it has been mired in controversy, injuries and enough storylines to put most soap operas to shame. There’s Jacob Volkmann, one of the winningest lightweights in the UFC unable to get a spot higher than the Facebook prelims because of his past actions both in and after his fights. Then there’s Lavar Johnson, an unlikely figure emerging in the UFC’s heavyweight division and collecting bonus cheques along the way. There’s Glover Teixeira making his long awaited UFC debut, but fighting untelevised because of the structure of this card. Let’s not forget the return of Shane del Rosario, who only 12 months ago was unsure whether he would be able to walk properly, let alone fight again after a career threatening injury at the hands of a drunk driver. You have two fan-favorites likely fighting for their UFC contracts (Dan Hardy and Jason Miller) and a fighter getting a last minute shot at redemption (Jamie Varner). Then, of course there was the rise and fall of Alistair Overeem and his failed test for elevated testosterone, followed by the social media campaign to get Mark Hunt a title shot if Overeem were unable to be licensed. Ultimately, Hunt was forced from the event with an injury. Every single fight on this main card was modified in some way, and at long last, what must seem like a nightmare from day one for UFC matchmaker Joe Silva will finally come to an end on Saturday night when UFC 146 kicks off.
…and of course, what gaggle of controversy is complete without an appearance by “Pee Wee” Herman? Heavyweights dominate this edition of By the Numbers, so here we go…
0 – Professional losses between Stipe Miocic and Shane del Rosario. Both fighters have impressed in their short careers. Miocic has won seven of his eight career fights by KO, while Del Rosario is eight for eleven. Of them, only Miocic has ever gone the decision (his debut against Joey Beltran). 0 is also the number of main card fights originally booked for UFC 146 that are still intact. Every fight on the main card has been changed in some form, marking one of the very few times this has ever happened in MMA history.
1 – Of the 24 fighters on this card, only one (Mike Brown) is a direct transfer from the WEC merger. Varner is a former WEC champion who, however, was released before the merge. With the exception of UFC 144 which showcased a fair number of debuts and Japanese fighters, this represents the least WEC transfers on a UFC Pay Per View card since UFC 135.
2 – This is the surprising number of knockouts between Hardy and Duane Ludwig combined in their UFC careers. Renowned for their heavy handed and strike-centric styles, it would be easy to assume they had racked up more KO stoppages together. However, Hardy has one against Rory Markham at UFC 95, while Ludwig’s is his record-setting knockout against Jonathan Goulet in 2006.
3 – The number of undefeated fighters on this card. Main card fighters Del Rosario and Miocic, and undercard fighter Paul Sass. have never been defeated in their combined 31 fights. Their spread includes only two career decisions. Sass has never won a fight by knockout,
4 – When Junior dos Santos steps into the cage on Saturday night, he will be only the fourth UFC champion to fight this year. Injuries have kept Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre and Dominick Cruz at bay. Cruz’s recent injury may keep him out of action for all of 2012.
5 – Main event underdog Frank Mir‘s five career losses have all come by KO/TKO which is how many have predicted tonight’s fight against champion Dos Santos will end. Following his first career TKO at the hands of Ian Freeman, Mir has been stopped four other times while being put in troubled spots in some of his other fights. Mir has a history of persevering, however, and has weathered many a storm time and again in the name of gaining key position to finish an opponent, usually by submission.
6 – This is Volkmann’s sixth fight at lightweight, a division in which he is currently undefeated. Volkmann’s had a fairly rough go in the UFC despite his 5-2 record. After losing his fight two fights at welterweight, Volkmann dropped to 155. In a tumultuous 26-month span, Volkmann’s winning streak has often been hidden behind criticism of his fight style and trouble with the secret service based on post-fight comments about Barack Obama. Despite his winning streak, the fight will be Volkmann’s sixth consecutive fight held off television, as the bout will be aired on Facebook where the predictable, yet simultaneously unpredictable, Volkmann meets British submission specialist Sass.
8 – The remarkable winning streak heavyweight champion Dos Santos has strung together en route to his championship win over Cain Velasquez last November. Dos Santos is undefeated since his October 2008 UFC debut, and his run stretches through three different countries in a different city each time. This will be only his second appearance in the UFC’s home base of Las Vegas; the first being a 2010 victory over Gilbert Yvel.
9 – Whereas last week’s UFC on Fuel card featured 17 fighters coming off losses, this week’s UFC 146 features only nine. Of all these fighters, however, only Hardy and CB Dollaway have lost more than one in a row. The Cain Velasquez/Antonio Silva fight is the first time two fighters coming off a loss have met in the co-main event of a UFC Pay Per View since Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck met last year.
10 – Though he himself predicted a second round TKO victory, Dos Santos has largely been a quick knockout finisher in his career. Every single one of his ten career KO/TKO victories have come in the first round. Sass is quick to his submission game as well, having won ten of his career fights by first round submission.
11 – Leading the way for all preliminary fighters, Hardy comes into what could inherently be a “do or die” situation against Ludwig with eleven career KOs. Hardy’s caution-to-the-wind style has been his calling card in his lengthy UFC tenure. However, after four straight losses, another could push him past the edge of which he teeters right now. Of course, with the UFC appearing later in the year in Hardy`s hometown of Nottingham, England, Hardy may remain on contract for that card with a strong performance whether wins or loses but five-in-a-row would likely be the end of his UFC run. Of all fighters, Dave Herman has the most career KO victories with 15.
15 – Teixeira’s win streak coming into his debut against Kyle Kingsbury. After opening his career at .500 in four fights, Teixeira has not lost since, a streak stretching all the way back to early 2006. All but one of those victories have been a stoppage as well. After finishes over four consecutive UFC vets (Marcio Cruz, Antonio Mendes, Marvin Eastman) Teixeira will make a long awaited UFC debut against Kingsbury.
16 – A remarkable sixteen fighters on the card have held championships either in the UFC or other promotions. On the Facebook fight end, every fighter except for Kingsbury has held a promotional championship led arguably by Brown’s WEC Featherweight Championship reign. On the FX prelims, all fighters except for Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Brandao and Dollaway have held championships, again, arguably led by Varner’s WEC Lightweight title reign. The main card has three UFC title reigns in Mir, Velasquez and current champion Dos Santos, an IFL champion in Roy Nelson and an Elite XC champion in Silva.
20 – Special congratulations to Mir, whose storied UFC career hits its 20th fight in the Octagon tonight, most amongst all current UFC heavyweights and of all fighters on this card. Mir`s career with the UFC spans over ten years, includes five title fights (including this one) and three countries. Mir has fought most often for the UFC in Las Vegas, where he holds a 10-2 record overall. His record in title fights is even at 2-2. When Mir first debuted in the UFC, the youngest participant on the card (Stefan Struve) was 13. Interestingly enough, at age 24, Struve makes his eleventh appearance, second most of anybody on the card.
100% – Daniel Pineda‘s finish percentage. In his seventeen career wins, Pineda has won six by knockout, and eleven by submission with only one win coming after the second round. Besides his two UFC victories (in a combined 3:43 against Mackens Semerzier and Pat Schilling), Pineda also holds a notable 2009 victory over Ultimate Fighter alumni Johnny Bedford.
2485 – Once all the heavyweight had hit the scale for the weigh-in, they all came in at a combined 2485 pounds, or 1.12 tonnes. Those ten heavyweights on a scale together would be heavier than every flyweight currently signed to the UFC combined, and combined are heavier than more than more than ten different compact vehicles on the market, including a Honda Fit and a 2-door Hyundai Accent.
6000% – Following his January victory over Terry Etim, the value of Barboza’s Topps UFC “rookie cards” and their associated parallels jumped in value over 6000% on eBay in the weeks following the fight. Some of the parallels of Barboza’s cards that could be had for under $5 prior to the fight were regularly selling for $30, and one card numbered to only eight copies sold for $235. Secondary prices have only slightly tapered off, almost singlehandedly resurrecting interest in the set (Title Shot) the cards are featured in.
$130,000 – In his two UFC appearances, Johnson has won both by knockout and collected two consecutive Knockout of the Night awards. Johnson, having entered the UFC on a two fight losing streak in Strikeforce, knocked out popular fighters Beltran and Pat Barry in the first round of both fights en route to his bonus paydays. His opponent Struve is no stranger to post-fight bonuses having collected three himself. However, Struve has been knocked out three times in his UFC career, coincidentally all in the first round. They will open the main card tonight.
The all-heavyweight PPV of UFC 146 takes place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The main card begins at 10:00 PM EST and will be preceded by the seven fight preliminary card split between Facebook and FX (starting at 6:30 PM EST).