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UFC 165 milestones and footnotes

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

A memorable UFC 165, which featured arguably the greatest fight of all-time, is in the books, so it's time to look at who made history on Saturday night in Toronto. All facts and figures courtesy of FightMetric.

* Alex Caceres has quickly put together some of the most outstanding striking numbers in bantamweight history. Caceres landed 106 significant strikes against Roland Delorme Saturday night at UFC 165, the fourth-most ever landed by a bantamweight in a single UFC/WEC bout. It’s the second time Caceres has reached the century mark, having previously landed 102 significant strikes against Cole Escovedo at UFC on Fox 1. Caceres is the first bantamweight in UFC/WEC competition to land 100+ significant strikes twice.

* Caceres is also landing with an incredibly high rate of accuracy, connecting on 58.7% of his significant attempts. It’s the highest accuracy percentage in bantamweight history (min. 5 fights and 350 significant attempts). Caceres averages 4.49 significant strikes landed per minute, the second-highest rate among bantamweights all-time (min. 5 fights; TJ Dillashaw is first with 4.82 avg.)

* Khabib Nurmagomedov has proven to be an elite takedown machine. He’s averaging 7.37 takedowns per 15 minutes of fighting, the highest average in UFC history (min. 5 fights). Nurmagomedov landed 5 takedowns against Pat Healy at UFC 165. Healy had never been taken down more than twice in any UFC or Strikeforce bout. Nurmagomedov has earned at least three takedowns against three of the four opponents he’s attempted to bring down to the mat. An interesting fact to add: he went 0-for-13 in takedown attempts against Gleison Tibau at UFC 148. Tibau, at the time, had the highest takedown defense rate in UFC history at 93.1% (min. 5 fights and 20 opp. att.) and is currently ranked second all-time at 91.9%.

* Francis Carmont also found takedown success at UFC 165. Carmont went 5-for-5 in his attempts against Costa Philippou. Carmont’s takedown output would be considered impressive against anybody, but it was especially noteworthy because it came against the Philippou who, at the time, boasted the highest takedown defense percentage in middleweight history at 88.9%. Philippou had successfully defended 24 of his middleweight opponents’ 27 takedown attempts against him.

* Carmont is on a six-fight winning streak, tying Chris Weidman for the longest active streak in the middleweight division. Carmont’s done an exceptional job of keeping his opponents where he wants them and, in the process, rarely absorbs damaging strikes. He’s only hit with 1.30 significant strikes per minute, the third-best average in middleweight history (min. 5 fights).

* Many suspected that any gap in talent between Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione might be in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu department, and that’s where Schaub ended the fight. Schaub’s D’Arce choke of Mitrione at 4:06 of the 1st round was the first submission win for Schaub, the first submission loss for Mitrione, and the first D’Arce choke submission in UFC heavyweight history. There have been 11 D’Arce choke submissions in UFC competition.

* Renan Barao became the first fighter in UFC history to earn a KO/TKO victory by landing a spinning back kick to the head. Barao finished Eddie Wineland in the second round of their interim bantamweight title match with the technique, becoming the 3rd fighter in UFC history to earn a knockout with a spinning back kick (the others: David Loiseau, Dennis Siver). For Barao, it was his fifth finish in UFC/WEC bantamweight competition, tying him for second most in 135-pound history. Only Brian Bowles has more finishes in the division with six. It was also Barao’s eighth UFC/WEC victory, tying Miguel Torres for third-most in bantamweight history.

* Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson gave the MMA world an instant classic, and there are many illuminating numbers that came from their five-round battle. Gustafsson surprised many by becoming the first fighter to ever take Jon Jones down in MMA competition. Jones had previously defended all 16 of his opponents’ takedown attempts against him in the UFC. Despite being taken down, Jones actually displayed plenty of excellent takedown defense for the remainder of the bout, defending seven of eight Gustafsson attempts after 25 minutes of fighting. Jones’ UFC career finally met and surpassed official sample size minimums to qualify for all-time takedown defense, and having defended 23 of 24 attempts, his takedown defense rate of 95.8% is the highest in UFC history.

* Gustafsson may have impressed even more with his takedown defense, stuffing 10 of Jones’ 11 attempts. Gustafsson’s takedown defense of 86.7% is right behind Jones’ as second-highest in light heavyweight history (min. 5 fights and 20 opp. att.).

* Jones and Gustafsson combined for 244 significant strikes landed, the most ever landed in a UFC title fight. Jones’ 134 significant strikes landed are the second-most ever landed by a light heavyweight in a single fight, and Gustafsson’s 110 significant strikes landed are the fifth-most by a light heavyweight. Jones vs. Gustafsson is just the seventh fight in UFC history to feature both fighters landing 100+ significant strikes and the only one of those seven bouts to take place in a weight class higher than welterweight.

* Jones became just the fourth fighter in UFC history to win 10 consecutive bouts, joining Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, and Royce Gracie. His unanimous decision victory over Gustafsson is his 13th win in the UFC, tying Chuck Liddell for most victories since the advent of the 205-pound weight class. (Note: Liddell had three prior wins in the 199-pound middleweight class.)

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