This article is part of our Fight Stat Wrap series.
Donald Cerrone looked vulnerable in the main event of UFC Fight Night 126, but, in the end, he pulled off a first-round knockout over Yancy Medeiros. In the process, he put up the third-highest DraftKings score of the year so far. The card did not have the most star power, but it certainly turned out to be an exciting night of fights. 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.
Donald Cerrone won a fire fight against Yancy Medeiros
Cerrone put on a vintage performance in the main event. Both Cerrone and Medeiros turned their offense up and let the chips fall. In the end, Cerrone was the one left standing. "Cowboy" landed 5.63 significant strikes per minute, while Medeiros landed 5.03. However, the ability to take the strikes turned out to be the story. Cerrone landed three knockdowns in the fight, averaging 9.06 knockdowns per 15 minutes. Medeiros could not stand up to that kind of power and fell in the final seconds of the opening round.
Thanks in large part three knockdowns and the first round finish, Cerrone finished with 134 DraftKings points. The score was the highest of the night and the third-highest score of the year. At the pace that Cerrone fights, a bout with Medeiros was destined to end early. Players who rolled the dice on the aging Cerrone were certainly rewarded on Sunday.
Derrick Lewis saved his best power for last against Marcin Tybura
At times it looked like Lewis was not going to be able to finish this fight. Tybura took some hard shots early and dominated this fight on the ground. However, Lewis took advantage of an opening in the final round and scored the knockout. He needed to land only 30 significant strikes to finish the fight. During his UFC career, he has scored a knockout per every 39.56 landed significant strikes. Also interesting in this fight that he picked up two knockdowns while landing only seven distance strikes.
Despite the knockout finish, Lewis only earned players 91 DraftKings points. The score was the ninth-highest score of the night. Lewis' power is enticing to players since early finishes are still the most valuable asset in DFS. However, his lack of striking activity can severely diminish scores in longer fights.
James Vick's range was too much for Francisco Trinaldo
Vick was able to control this fight with his length and reach. He outlanded Trinaldo in all three rounds, and Trinaldo never landed more than 10 significant strikes in any round. The Brazilian missed 72 percent of his significant strike attempts, while Vick landed 43 percent. Vick's main target was the body, as he landed 38 of his 68 significant strikes to the body. He landed only 24 percent of his attempted significant head strikes.
Vick's reach advantage allowed him to stick to the outside and coast to a victory. However, it also took away any impetus to drive up his DraftKings score. He finished with 79 DraftKings points, which was the second lowest score for a winning fighter on the night. Being ahead of Trinaldo was more than enough to win, but players certainly expected more from a fighter with those physical advantages.
Curtis Millender showed evolving game against Thiago Alves
In terms of stat lines, the similarity between the first and second round for Millender is striking. In the opening frame, he landed 26 significant strikes at 48 percent with a knockdown. In the second round, he landed 21 significant at 40 percent with a knockdown and finished the fight. This shows that he had a gameplane, believed in it and executed it. The development is noticeable for a guy who recently was struggling on Bellator undercards.
Millender's determination to finish via knockout paid off in terms of DraftKings. He earned players 113.5 points for his second-round finish. Millender will struggle at times in the UFC welterweight division. However, he showed in this fight that DFS players can depend on him to put up points when he is a respectable favorite.
Brandon Davis showed impressive striking skill against Steven Peterson
Davis had the higher level striking, and it showed. He continually forced Peterson to miss, and he used the opportunity to land counters. Both fighters attempted virtually the same number of significant strikes (285 for Davis and 286 for Peterson), but Davis landed at a much higher rate (40 percent compared to 25 percent). That was the story of the fight.
While this was certainly the most entertaining fight on the main card, it could be seen as somewhat of a dissapointment for DFS players. Davis was clearly the better technical striker, but Peterson's staying power kept him from getting a high-level score. Davis finished with 90 DraftKings points despite landing 114 significant strikes.
Sage Northcutt escaped with win over Thibault Gouti
Northcutt spent large portions of this fight defending takedowns or trying to get back to his feet. He landed 125 strikes in the fight, but many were did not have the range or power necessary. FightMetric considered only 63 of those strikes to be significant by their definition. 41 of those significant strikes came at distance, which means that only 22 of his strikes on the ground or in the clinch were significant. If Northcutt can't hold striking range against fighters like Gouti, he will need to find a way to land meaningful strikes in these positions.
Northcutt spending most of this fight on defensive also prevented him from putting up meaningful DraftKings points. Despite being a huge favorite, he finished with 69.5 points, which was the lowest score among winners. Since picking up stoppage wins in his first two UFC fights, Northcutt has been unable to score a finish.