This article is part of our Fight Stat Wrap series.
In the main event of UFC 220, Stipe Miocic became the first fighter to successfully defend the heavyweight title for a third time. Also on the main card, light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier stopped his challenger in the second round. 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 FightMetric.com.
Stipe Miocic avoided Francis Ngannou's power and grinded him away
Ngannou came out looking to land his signature power shots. Miocic used solid head movement and kept proper distance for the most part and forced Ngannou to miss 76 percent of his significant strike attempts in the first round. After that, the challenger got tired and his striking activity and accuracy fell off a cliff. The following chart shows Ngannou's significant strikes landed per minute for every round of his career. Prior to UFC 220, he had never landed fewer than 2.6 significant strikes per minute in a round outside of his quick submission over Anthony Hamilton. Against Miocic, fell well below that rate in four of the five rounds.
Miocic went back to his wrestling roots and landed six takedowns. He also successfully implemented his ground striking game. Coming into this fight, Ngannou had not absorbed a single significant ground strike. Miocic managed to land 28 significant strikes on the ground in the five-round fight. The champion also picked his spots well on the feet, as he landed 71 percent of his distance significant strikes.
The champion finished with the second highest DraftKings score of the night. Despite going to decision, he earned players 107 points. Five-round fights are always an interesting quandary for players. Fights between higher level fighters have lower finish potential, but the extra 10 minutes can allow fighters to rack up more points.
Daniel Cormier finished Volkan Oezdemir on the ground
Cormier survived an early blitz from Oezdemir and then took the fight into his realm. On the ground, Oezdemir had nothing for the champion. Cormier landed two of his three takedown attempts. He cut through Oezdemir's guard, scored three passes and nearly finished via submission at the end of the first round. In the second round, he took the fight to the ground early, and finishing it was only a matter of time.
In the successful title defense, Cormier finished with 105 DraftKings points, which was the fourth highest score of the night. There was some consternation about the score from players. In the second round, Cormier landed 55 total strikes, but only five were counted as significant. The FightMetric definition of a "significant strike" does not include non-power strikes on the ground. It is that simple, and a good lesson for DFS players moving forward.
Calvin Kattar dropped and finished Shane Burgos in the third
Burgos seemed surprised by Kattar's technical striking skill in the first round. Kattar landed 40 significant strikes at a 52 percent clip. In the second round, Burgos upped his activity, which gave Kattar a lot of problems. The momentum appears to swing in Burgos' favor as he landed 55 of his 101 significant strike attempts while absorbing only 35 in the second frame. However, early in the final round, Kattar floored Burgos and finished the fight.
Most striking coaches would say that mixing up your target is a good idea. However, in this fight, Kattar was head hunting and it worked out. He landed 73 of his 85 significant strikes to the head. Burgos, on the other hand, was much more diverse with 46 going to the head, 25 to the body and 18 to the legs. In the end Kattar's strategy paid off.
Kattar finished with 97.5 DraftKings points. It was the sixth highest score of the night and the third highest score in a decision fight. Kattar has been an underdog in both of UFC fights, but he has managed pick up the upset each time. He joined the UFC late last year as the No. 130 featherweight per Fight Matrix. He has now bumped all the way up to No. 22.
Gian Villante dictated the pace of the fight against Francimar Barroso
Recently Villante has been gassing in the later rounds of his fights. To solve this problem, he decided the fight at a very slow pace. It worked out in this fight, since Barroso was mostly trying to counter. Villante got the win even though he was outlanded in the first (21 to 15) and the third (27 to 24). Also, the finished product did little to excite fans about his return to the Octagon.
Outside of landing 74 significant strikes, Villante did not put up any point scoring stats. He finished with 67 points on DraftKings, which was the third lowest score among winners on Saturday.
Rob Font put up the highest DraftKings score against Thomas Almeida
Font rebounded nicely with a second-round stoppage over Almeida. With a pair of knockdowns against the Brazilian, Font improved his knockdown rate to 1.46 knockdowns per 15 minute. In the second round, Font outlanded Almeida 23 to 9 and finished the fight.
Font had the highest DraftKings score of UFC 220. He earned points through 41 significant strikes, a takedown, two knockdowns and the 70-point second-round finish bonus. His ability to score finishes and pick up knockdowns makes him an almost must play at this point in his career.