(All stats according to UFC’s Record Book and Fight Metric as of September 29, 2021, and only include active athletes in their respective division unless noted otherwise)
Main Event: Thiago Santos vs Johnny Walker
Thiago Santos | Top Finishes
Thiago Santos | Top Finishes
Key Stats: 11 KO/TKO wins (tied-3rd all-time), 13:52 average fight time (4th-longest all-time among LHW), +1.27 striking differential
What It Means: Thiago Santos is a flat-out knockout artist. He has all the technical abilities you’d want in a high-level striker, but at the end of the day, “Marreta” wants to put someone to sleep with a vicious strike. He does a good job of using kicks to the body and mixing it up to the head, but once he gets into the pocket, he throws wild and explosive hooks and uppercuts. He’s down to stand-and-bang and believes in his power more than the other guy’s. At distance, he does like to set up a spinning high kick, which will begin a wild sequence, at the very least.
Key Stats: 1.99 knockdowns per 15 minutes (4th all-time), 3:46 average fight time (5th-shortest all-time among LHW), 72% striking accuracy
What It Means: Walker is a creative, explosive and, at times, wild striker who loves finding a flashy knockout shot. He is madly unpredictable when he rushes in to exchange. He is best from a distance, where he can use all of his large and long frame to his advantage. He is also effective from the Muay Thai clinch, which allows him to throw vicious knees and elbows. Walker is most dangerous in the first round when he is most explosive, but his power does carry if he keeps himself out of harm’s way intelligently.
What to Look For in the Fight: This is a real don’t-blink type of fight. Both men like to get their work done early and, often, in spectacular fashion. Santos has shown a bit more durability and cardio than Walker, but Walker’s unpredictability can wash all that away at a moment’s notice. Santos must be mindful when entering the pocket, and Walker strikes in a way that often leaves him open for counter shots. However, Walker carries major power in every strike he throws, so whether it’s a spinning shot after a missed punch or a flying knee out of nowhere, he is a threat at all moments.
Co-Main Event: Kevin Holland vs Kyle Daukaus
Key Stats: 56.8% significant strike accuracy (3rd all-time among MW), 1,195 total strikes landed (4th all-time among MW), +1.13 striking differential (8th)
What It Means: Holland is a fast-talking, rangy fighter who does well to leverage his length to generate power from a variety of strikes. He uses long strikes like jabs and body kicks, and when he keeps his striking technically sound, he can really pick his opponent apart. He has decent grappling even if his wrestling defense has been exploited a little bit. Off his back, he has a tricky guard and a knack for still landing heavy shots from the bottom.
Key Stats: 3.23 strikes landed per minute, 1.75 takedowns per 15 minutes, 29% takedown accuracy
What It Means: Daukaus is a rock solid, well-rounded fighter with good tools and a lot of toughness. He marches forward and throws heavy shots, and he does it with the confidence in his ground game that promotes that kind of striking. He has a good submission game, and he exhibits patience on the ground as he works for them. So far in his career, he has shown he’s a tough out for anyone he faces.
What to Look For in the Fight: Based on Holland’s last couple of fights, it’d be safe to assume Daukaus sees grappling as his path of least resistance. Daukaus isn’t as much of an ace wrestler as Marvin Vettori or Derek Brunson, but he is good in the clinch and along the fence. Holland said he focused a lot on defensive grappling, so this is a solid test of those skills. If it stays on the feet, Holland is the faster and more technical of the two, but there should be some fun exchanges on the feet if they sit in the pocket for moments.
Other Fights to Watch (Aspen Ladd vs Macy Chiasson)
Key Stats: 44.5% control time percentage (5th all-time among WBW), 0.41 knockdowns per 15 minutes (3rd all-time among WBW), 5.22 strikes landed per minute (5th all-time among WBW)
What It Means: Ladd is a physical force at 135 with a real aggressive streak when she is tuned in to the fight. Her best work is done up close in clinches, against the fence and on the ground, where she can impose her will. Before that, though, she is smart and economic with her strikes, waiting to get into range before throwing her hands in flurries. And once the fight gets close, she can utilize her physical strength to control her opponent and find windows for her heavy ground-and-pound.
Key Stats: +2.16 striking differential (1st all-time among WBW), 49.6% significant strike accuracy (5th all-time among WBW), 2.1 strikes absorbed per minute (3rd all-time among WBW)
What It Means: The former Ultimate Fighter winner is a lanky, wiry presence at bantamweight. She likes to start quickly and swarm her opponent with pressure, solid footwork, and diverse striking. Chiasson is also sound in the clinch and in dragging her opponent to the fence, and she shows a knack for taking her opponent’s back or controlling them once she gets them down. On the feet, she is disciplined and likes to use her rangy frame to keep opponents off her until she decides it’s time to engage.
What to Look For in the Fight: Chiasson is probably the quicker of the two, but Ladd’s strength should give her an edge if the fight enters the clinch or moves along the fence. That said, Chiasson’s striking could allow her to keep Ladd off her and move forward a bit more. They both display solid top control, so the battles in the scrambles are going to be of the upmost importance. Ladd likely has more one-punch power than Chiasson, but they both have displayed patience in finding windows for big shots.
*Hasn’t competed in weight class enough to qualify in UFC Record Book