Justin Gaethje never fails to deliver.
The former World Series of Fighting titlist made short work of Edson Barboza in the UFC on ESPN 2 headliner, knocking out his Brazilian foe with a right hand 2:30 into the opening stanza at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Saturday night. “The Highlight” has won two straight bouts in the Octagon, both in devastating fashion, and remains appointment viewing for fight fans everywhere.
Here is a by-the-numbers look at UFC on ESPN 2, with statistics courtesy of UFCStats.com.
8.50: Significant strikes landed per minute for Gaethje, currently the highest rate in UFC history among fighters with at least five bouts in the promotion.
20: Significant strikes landed by Gaethje in the abbreviated main event. A right hand from “The Highlight” ended the contest 2:30 into the opening stanza. By comparison, Barboza landed 13 significant strikes.
13: Significant head strikes for Gaethje. Barboza, meanwhile, landed six.
1-3: Record for Barboza in his last four bouts, which includes also includes lopsided defeats at the hands of Kevin Lee and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
0:49: Time of Jack Hermansson’s guillotine choke submission of David Branch in the co-main event, the fifth fastest submission in UFC middleweight history.
4: First-round finishes in UFC competition for Hermansson, who has also bested Gerald Meerschaert, Bradley Scott and Alex Nicholson inside of a round in the Octagon.
7: Significant head strikes landed by Josh Emmett in his featherweight clash against Michael Johnson. The last one was the most decisive blow, a right hook that knocked “The Menace” unconscious at the 4:14 mark of round three.
.250: Significant striking accuracy for Emmett, who landed 22 of 87 attempts. That was slightly better than Johnson, who went 24 for 128 on significant strikes — an 18 percent clip.
18: Significant strikes by which Michelle Waterson outlanded Karolina Kowalkiewicz over the final two rounds of their featured strawweight tilt. “The Karate Hottie” outlanded her foe 22-to-12 in round two and 24-to-16 in round three after being outlanded by a 29-to-18 count in the opening stanza.
10: Career submission triumphs among 11 career victories for Paul Craig, who tapped Kennedy Nzechukwu at the 4:20 mark of round three in their light heavyweight duel.
15: Failed takedown attempts for Craig, who was only able to get his opponent to the canvas once. Craig was also outlanded 40 to 25 in significant strikes before securing the fight-ending submission in the third stanza.
118: Significant strikes landed by Marina Rodriguez in a dominant decision win over Jessica Aguilar at strawweight. By comparison, Aguilar landed 50. Rodriguez outlanded her opponent 20 to 14 in round one, 50 to 13 in round two and 48 to 23 in round three.
1-6: Record for Ross Pearson in his last seven UFC bouts following a first-round technical knockout loss to Desmond Green in a preliminary lightweight affair. Pearson’s only victory during that time: a three-round verdict over Mizuto Hirota at UFC 221.
544: Significant strikes absorbed by Pearson during that time. The 34-year-old Brit has landed 331 significant strikes during that period but was outlanded by all seven foes.
0: Takedowns landed in eight attempts for Enrique Barzola in a unanimous decision loss to the debuting Kevin Aguilar at featherweight. During a four-bout Octagon winning streak prior to Saturday, Barzola had landed a combined 31 takedowns.
6: Combined submission attempts for Kevin Holland (two) and Gerald Meerschaert (four) in their preliminary middleweight tilt. Neither fighter was able to secure a tapout, as Holland emerged with a split-decision triumph.
14: Media scorecards, of the 17 tracked by MMADecisions.com, that awarded the fight to Meerschaert. Judges Greg Monskie and Cardo Urso submitted scorecards in favor of Holland, giving “Trailblazer” a split-decision win.
32: Total strikes by which Holland (76) outlanded Meerschaert (44). Meanwhile, Meerschaert went 6-for-11 on takedowns, while Holland landed 1-of-2.
15: Media scorecards, of the 18 tracked by MMADecisions.com, that awarded the preliminary bantamweight clash between Ray Borg and Casey Kenney to Borg. The cageside judges saw things different, however, as Kenney officially emerged with a unanimous decision triumph.
7: Takedowns landed in 10 attempts for Borg, the most of his UFC tenure. He has landed 29 total takedowns in nine promotional appearances.
539: Days since Borg’s last Octagon appearance, a fifth-round submission defeat to Demetrious Johnson in a flyweight title bout at UFC 217. “The Tazmexican Devil” missed weight in his return at 135 pounds before falling to Kenney in a preliminary bout streamed on ESPN+.
150: Total strikes landed by Alex Perez in a unanimous decision win against Mark De La Rosa, a UFC best for the Team Oyama representative. By comparison, De La Rosa landed 74.