This article is part of our Fight Stat Wrap series.
In the main event of UFC 243. Israel Adesanya unified the UFC middleweight title with a second-round stoppage victory over former champion Robert Whittaker. In the process, he might have pushed himself into pound-for-pound status as well. The rest of the card was nothing much to write home about, but there were still impressive performances and memorable finishes. 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 UFCStats.com.
One of the reasons Whittaker has been successful in the UFC is his volume approach to striking. He is not very accurate, but he overcomes that by throwing a lot of strikes. Coming into this fight, he was attempting 11.85 significant strikes per minute and landing only 40 percent. Against Adesanya, this style got him into trouble. In the fight, he attempted 13.57 significant strikes per minute and landed only 27 percent. He missed a lot of strikes, and these misses set up a lot of counter opportunities for Adesanya.
The new champion used those advantages to land 40 of his 95 significant strike attempts and two knockdowns. He now has six knockdowns in his last two fights. A lot of fighters go their entire UFC career without scoring six knockdowns.
Adesanya finished with the third-highest score on DraftKings. He earned players 110 points thanks to his striking numbers and the second-round finish.
Hooker came into this fight wanting to control distance and use the jab. That strategy turned out to be very effective against Iaquinta. He set the tone early, as he outlanded his opponent 38 to five on significant strikes in the opening round. Iaquinta got more into the fight after that, but Hooker continued to lead the way. For the fight, he outlanded Iaquinta 98 to 37 on significant strikes and scored a second-round knockdown.
Hooker finished with the seventh-highest DraftKings score of the night. He put up 95 points based on 98 significant strikes, two passes and one knockdown.
Through his first five fights in the UFC, Tuivasa had only been taken down twice. However, Spivac not only took him down six times, but also advanced on the ground six times and finished via submission. The "Polar Bear" clearly made it a point to try to work on the floor, and it paid off with a submission victory. Tuivasa has now lost three-straight fights, and he went into the last two as the betting favorite.
Spivac's decision to mix in some grappling did not only help him win the fight, but it also helped him put up the highest DraftKings score on the night. He finished with 129.5 points, due mostly to the second round finish and his work on the floor.
Some fighters know their own vulnerability, and it appears as if Lima is now one of these fighters. He previously washed out of the UFC due to a suspect chin. In this fight, he made sure to maintain range and keep his volume low to avoid punishment. He landed 32 significant strikes in the fight, with 15 of those strikes being leg kicks. That alone is not going to win very many fights. However, Jumeau struggled to close the distance and landed only 24 of his 95 significant strike attempts. He likely would have benefited from more aggression, but at this pace he did not have a chance against Lima.
Even with the victory, Lima's lackluster volume kept him with a very low score on DraftKings. He finished with only 56 points, which was the lowest score for a winning fighter on the night.
Both fighters here were making their UFC debut, and this is what a heavyweight fight at this level looks like. Tafa appeared to be the aggressor early in the fight, but that might have gotten him into trouble. He ran right into a punch from De Castro, and he was out cold. For the fight, De Castro landed four of his 12 significant strike attempts, but that was more than enough to score the knockdown and finish the fight.
De Castro did not really have the time to put up major points on DraftKings, but thanks to the first round finish bonus, he earned players 102 points on the night. It was the fifth-highest score of the night and one of the six finishes on the card.