The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 243 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.
Israel Adesanya picked his shots until Robert Whittaker could take no more.
“The Last Stylebender” signaled the dawn of a new era in the middleweight division, as he defeated Whittaker via second-round technical knockout in the UFC 243 headliner in Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday night. A counter left hook brought an end to Whittaker’s night 3:33 into the second frame, as Adesanya unified the 185-pound belts by pounding on his fallen opponent before he was pulled off by referee Marc Goddard.
Here is a by-the-numbers look at UFC 243, with statistics courtesy of UFCStats.com and ESPN Stats & Info.
11: Undisputed middleweight champions in UFC history. Adesanya joined Dave Menne, Murilo Bustamante, Evan Tanner, Rich Franklin, Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman, Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping, Georges St. Pierre and Whittaker as the only men to hold the 185-pound belt.
7: Consecutive UFC triumphs for Adesanya, who ended Whittaker’s nine-bout winning streak to improve to 18-0 in his professional tenure.
40: Significant strikes landed by Adesanya. By comparison, Whittaker landed 32. However, Adesanya was far more efficient, landed 40 of 95 attempts for a 42 percent success rate. Whittaker attacked in greater volume but went 32 for 116, a 27 percent rate.
2: Knockdowns landed by Adesanya. “The Last Stylebender” floored his opponent at the end of round one and again in the second stanza before sealing his victory with a few follow-up punches on the ground.
98: Significant strikes landed by Dan Hooker in a dominant decision triumph over Al Iaquinta in the evening’s co-main event. “The Hangman” outlanded his foe 38 to 5 in round one, 27 to 15 in round two and 33 to 17 in round three.
23: Significant leg strikes for Hooker, who forced Iaquinta to switch stances repeatedly with his lower body assault. By comparison, Iaquinta landed nine significant strikes to the legs. Hooker also outlanded his opponent 22 to 0 in ground strikes and 68 to 21 in head strikes.
6: Takedowns landed in eight attempts by Sergey Spivak, who earned his first promotional triumph with a second-round submission of Tai Tuivasa in a featured heavyweight tilt.
14: Significant ground strikes landed by Spivak, who set up his arm-triangle submission with some heavy ground-and-pound in the second frame. Tuivasa failed to land a single significant strike on the mat.
7: Arm-triangle submission victories in UFC heavyweight history. Spivak joined Ciryl Gane and Stefan Struve as the third heavyweight to successfully execute the maneuver in 2019.
2,688: Days since a pair of heavyweights last made their promotional debut on a pay-per-view card. While Antonio Silva and Shane del Rosario lost in separate bouts at UFC 146 — a main card that was populated entirely by heavyweights — Yorgan De Castro and Justin Tafa squared off against one another at UFC 243. De Castro ended the fight in emphatic fashion, knocking out his opponent 2:10 into the opening stanza.
4: Significant strikes landed by De Castro in victory. “The Mad Titan” was outlanded 6 to 4 in significant strikes and 17 to 6 in total strikes by Tafa in the abbreviated affair.
8: Career UFC triumphs for Jake Matthews, who outpointed Rostem Akman in a preliminary welterweight tilt. That victory allowed “The Celtic Kid” to surpass Alexander Volkanovski and George Sotiropoulos for the most victories by an Australian-born fighter.
55: Significant strikes by which City Kickboxing’s Brad Riddell outlanded Jamie Mularkey in their preliminary lightweight scrap. Riddell landed 91 of 153 attempts, a 59 percent success rate. Mularkley, meanwhile, went 36 for 95, a 37 percent clip.
4: Triangle choke finishes in UFC competition thus far in 2019. With her submission of Zarah Fairn dos Santos, Anderson joined Paul Craig and Matt Schnell (twice) as the only athletes to complete the maneuver in the Octagon this year.
1,764: Days since Anderson’s last victory via tapout, an armbar submission of Zoie Shreiweis at Roshambo MMA 4 “In the Cage” on Dec. 6, 2014.
80: Significant strikes landed by Ji Yeon Kim in a second-round stoppage of Nadia Kassem at flyweight. That represents a UFC career high for the South Korean, who landed 64 of her blows to the head of her opponent.
9: Takedowns successfully defended in 11 attempts by Khalid Taha against Bruno Silva in a preliminary bantamweight bout. Taha also outlanded his opponent 38-to-20 in significant strikes (including one knockdown) en route to an arm-triangle submission of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt at the 3:00 mark of round three.