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UFC Fight Night 141 pre-event facts: Is Curtis Blaydes the best wrestler in heavyweight history?


This story was originally published on Nov. 21

The UFC makes its return to mainland China on Saturday with UFC Fight Night 141. The UFC Fight Pass-streamed card marks the organization’s debut in Beijing and goes down at Cadillac Arena.

A rematch of heavyweight contenders is set for the main event. Following a TKO loss in the first meeting in April 2016, the streaking Curtis Blaydes (10-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) will attempt to avenge his only loss when he meets Francis Ngannou (11-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC), who will try to bust out of his current slump.

For more on the numbers behind this week’s card, check below for 35 pre-event facts about UFC Fight Night 141.

* * * *

Main event

Blaydes’ six-fight UFC unbeaten streak in heavyweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Blaydes’ four-fight UFC winning streak in heavyweight competition is tied with Daniel Cormier for the longest active streak in the division.

Blaydes has earned eight of his 10 career victories by stoppage.

Blaydes completes 57.9 percent of all his takedown attempts in UFC heavyweight competition, the highest rate among active fighters in the weight class.

Blaydes’ takedown rate of 6.82 per 15 minutes of fighting is highest in UFC heavyweight history and second highest overall in company history behind Gregor Gillespie (7.01).

Blaydes’ 33 takedowns landed in UFC heavyweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Cain Velasquez (34).

Blaydes’ 10 takedowns landed against Mark Hunt at UFC 221 tied the record for second most in a single UFC heavyweight fight behind Velasquez’s 11 takedowns landed at UFC 155.

Ngannou enters the event on the first losing skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since December.

Ngannou has earned all 11 of his career victories by stoppage.

Ngannou is one of four modern-era UFC fighters to begin his career with the organization with six consecutive stoppages. Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin and Ronda Rousey also accomplished the feat.

Ngannou absorbs just 1.95 significant strikes per minute in UFC heavyweight competition, the best rate among active fighters in the division.

Ngannou and Derrick Lewis combined for 31 total strikes landed at UFC 226, the second fewest in a three-round UFC fight that went the distance behind Jens Pulver vs. Joao Roque (23) at UFC 26 in June 2000.

Co-main event

Alistair Overeem (43-17 MMA, 8-6 UFC), 38, is the oldest of the 24 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Overeem has earned 38 of his 43 career victories by stoppage. Of his 21 career knockout wins, 13 stemmed from either a kick or knee strike.

Overeem lands 72.5 percent of his significant strike attempts in UFC competition, the highest rate in company history.

Overeem has been on the losing end of the fourth and fifth largest statistical comeback finishes in UFC heavyweight history. He out-landed Antonio Silva by 30 significant strikes before being knocked out at UFC 156, and he out-landed Travis Browne by 27 significant strikes before his demise at UFC Fight Night 26

Overeem’s 12 knockout losses in MMA competition are the most of any active member on the UFC roster.

Overeem’s 11 knockout losses in UFC/WEC/PRIDE/Strikeforce competition are the most in combined organizational history.

Sergey Pavlovich (12-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes his UFC debut after a stint as the Fight Nights Global heavyweight champion.

Remaining main card

Song Yadong

Song Yadong (11-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC), 20, is the youngest of the 24 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Yadong has earned both of his UFC victories by knockout.

Preliminary card

Kenan Song

Song Kenan (13-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has earned 12 of his 13 career victories by stoppage. That includes both of his UFC wins.

Kenan’s 15-second knockout victory at UFC Fight Night 122 stands as the fifth fastest in UFC welterweight history.

Rashad Coulter (8-4 MMA, 0-3 UFC) three-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since January 2017.

Coulter has earned all eight of his career victories by knockout.

Hu Yaozong (3-1 MMA 0-1 UFC) returns to competition for the first time since Nov. 25, 2017. The 364-day layoff is the longest of his career.

Lauren Mueller (5-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned four of her five career victories by decision.

Weili Zhang (17-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) enters the event on a 17-fight winning streak. She hasn’t suffered a defeat since her MMA debut in November 2013.

Zhang’s 17-fight MMA winning streak is the longest among female fighters on the UFC roster.

Yan Xiaonan (9-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is 6-0 (with one no-contest) since returning from a nearly five-year layoff in July 2015.

John Phillips (21-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has earned all 21 of his career victories by stoppage. He’s finished 18 of those wins by knockout.

Louis Smolka

Louis Smolka (14-5 MMA, 5-5 UFC) returns to the UFC for a second stint after he was released following a loss at UFC 219 in December. He went 3-0 outside the organization.

Smolka has suffered four consecutive losses in UFC competition. He hasn’t earned an octagon victory since July 2016.

Smolka moves up to the UFC bantamweight division after making his previous 10 appearances with the promotion at flyweight.

Smolka’s 18 submission attempts in UFC flyweight competition are most in divisional history.

Smolka’s seven submission attempts against Ben Nguyen at UFC Fight Night 91 stand as the single-fight record for a UFC flyweight bout.

For more on UFC Fight Night 141, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.


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