Fight Facts: UFC 2021, a Year in Review

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    Ultimate Fighting Championship
    told the pandemic to hold its
    beer as it staged a higher number of events than in recent years,
    putting on over 500 fights from start to finish. U.S. fans came
    back in droves for several marquee shows as early as April, but the
    UFC Apex in Las Vegas played host to most of the action this year.
    In this all-encompassing Fight Facts review, join us as we dive
    into the non-stop chain of UFC cards over the past 12 months, which
    brought more knockouts than ever before, at least one all-time
    upset, and a wide spread of entertaining walkout music.

    * * *

    Knockouts: 63
    Technical Knockouts: 107
    Submissions: 74
    Decisions: 252
    Draws: 5
    No Contests: 6

    I Back, Trust Me, I Back

    509 What What: Throughout the year, the UFC held
    509 fights inside of eight different buildings, spanning 43 events.
    The event and bout total both came in as the second-most in any
    year in UFC history, with only 2014’s 46 events and 2019’s 516
    fights trumping each category.

    There’s No Place Like the Apex: Whereas in the
    previous year 10 different venues held UFC cards, in 2021 only
    eight, including the UFC Apex, put on fights. Three-hundred
    fifty-five, or 69.7%, of all UFC fights in 2021 went down in the
    Apex. While not the highest percentage of bouts for one arena in a
    year, it does eclipse the total number in a single locale.

    A Las Vegas-Based Conveyer Belt: The UFC broke its
    2020 record of consecutive events in the same building when 10
    straight shows from Feb. 6 to April 17 went down in the Apex. The
    previous high was eight, also in the Apex.

    Hometown Cooking: Thirty-one of the 43 UFC events
    in 2021 took place in the promotion’s headquarters at the UFC
    Apex in Las Vegas. This is by far the most fight cards from a major
    promotion in a single arena in a year.

    Still Too Long: A far cry from the UFC’s
    never-ending marathon of 24 weeks of shows from July to December
    2020, the longest stretch of consecutive events in 2021 came from
    Sept. 18 to Nov. 20, a span of 10 weeks.

    Home of the Whopper: The UFC started the year with
    three shows at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates,
    and then returned nine months later for UFC 267 in October.
    “Fight Island” marked the only non-U.S. location the UFC
    traveled to this year, although it only planted its flag in four
    other U.S. cities of Jacksonville, Fla.; Houston; Glendale, Ariz.;
    and New York City.

    Legend Whether You Like Him or Not: At UFC 268 in
    November, announcer Bruce Buffer hit an astonishing milestone: the
    event was his 500th on the microphone. The second-highest tally
    goes to Joe
    , whose 14 appearances this year bring his UFC total to
    61 shows.

    It Was Exhausting: With a full slate of 15 fights
    from start to finish on March 6, UFC 259 tied the all-time record
    for the most bouts in a night with UFC 2 and UFC on ESPN 20. It was
    the first of those with a championship bout, and it featured

    A Literal Three-Hour Tour: Even though it fell
    short of the record for total bouts with just 14, UFC 263 ended
    with 11 decisions, setting a new all-time mark. The evening’s
    fight time of 3:19:32 also surpassed
    the previous record by a fair amount.

    Missing Four on the Floor: Fewer than the last two
    years, just four fighters stepped foot in the Octagon four times in
    2021. Belal
    , Dustin
    , Lupita
    and Manel Kape
    all reached that number by year’s end. Godinez and Kape each won
    twice, while Muhammad saw three victories and a no contest compared
    to Jacoby’s three triumphs and a draw.

    Three and Out: No UFC fighter earned more than
    three victories this calendar year. Overall, 19 different
    competitors prevailed on three occasions in 2021.

    Could Have Been Worse: There were no fighters this
    year that fought four times without recording a win. Three athletes
    did drop three bouts in three 2021 appearances: Andre
    , Diego
    and Jerome

    Draw Draw Draw Draw Draw: Each of the last three
    years (2019, 2020 and 2021) has seen exactly five draws, and they
    are all tied with 2017 for the second-most in any given year for
    the UFC. 2016’s seven stand above the pack.

    Go Over the Rules Again: 2021 became the fourth
    year in UFC history where multiple matches ended by
    disqualification, along with 2012, 2015 and 2020. Petr Yan lost
    his bantamweight belt to an illegal knee to Aljamain
    , while Randa
    hurt Luana
    with an illegal upkick to halt that match as well.

    No Poppers, Bro: A sharp contrast to the year the
    preceded it, only one match was later overturned to a no contest
    due to a failed drug test, when Rodrigo
    was suspended for banned stimulants. The other five
    no contests came from accidental eye pokes, an illegal knee or an
    inadvertent clash of heads.

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