Renan Barao will put his lengthy unbeaten streak on the line against T.J. Dillashaw in the main event of UFC 173. Also on the line in that fight will be Barao's UFC bantamweight title. In the co-main event, highly ranked 205-pounders Daniel Cormier and Dan Henderson will compete for a chance to fight for the UFC light heavyweight title. Also on the main card, hard hitting welterweights Robbie Lawler and Jake Ellenberger will square off. In addition, the pay-per-view portion of the card will feature a bantamweight bout between Takeya Mizugaki and Francisco Rivera, as well as a lightweight scrap between Jamie Varner and James Krause.
What follows are some interesting stats and facts about the five fights that will anchor the May 24 fight card.
Renan Barao (32-0-1-1) vs. T.J. Dillashaw (9-2-0)
These two like to throw (and land) them some strikes. Barao, is ranked No. 6 in UFC bantamweight history with 4.04 significant strikes landed per minute, while Dillashaw's 4.84 put him atop the 135 pound division in this category.
While these two land strikes with more frequency than most UFC bantamweights, only one of them is in the top ten in significant striking accuracy in the division, and that fighter is Dillashaw. In fact, Dillashaw is more accurate than all but one fighter in the division. His 49.06 percent accuracy puts him second to Alex Caceres' 53.65 percent.
As far as accumulating strikes go, these two have put up some hefty numbers over the course of their UFC runs. Barao's 353 significant strikes landed ranks him fourth in the division, while Dillashaw's 287 put him at No. 7.
If prop bets are your thing, you would be well served to put some money on the fact that this fight will not go to the ground via a takedown. Barao's takedown defense is a perfect 100 percent, while Dillashaw's is a near perfect 95 percent.
Daniel Cormier (14-0-0) vs. Dan Henderson (30-11-0)
We all know that Henderson has a huge weapon in his right hand, but the fact that he often loads that hand up and waits to land the knockout blow works against him in the numbers department. On average, Henderson lands 2.45 significant strikes per minute, while Cormier lands 4.13.
On the flip side of that equation, Cormier absorbs 1.41 significant strikes per minute while Henderson takes 2.51.
Both of these fighters have Olympic wrestling backgrounds, so it should come as no shock that Cormier has 100 percent takedown defense. What may come as a surprise is Henderson's takedown defense, which comes in at a rather pedestrian 60 percent.
For your prop bet on this one, put some money down on the fact that no one is going to go for a submission. Cormier's submission attempt average per 15 minutes is a Blotto like 0.0, while Henderson attempts 0.4 submissions per 15 minutes.
Robbie Lawler (22-10-0-1) vs. Jake Ellenberger (29-7-0)
These two have a background in wrestling, but have shown they have a much more of an affinity for throwing bungalows when they step inside the Octagon. Between them they have racked up 36 wins by TKO or KO. On the other side of that equation, both Lawler and Ellenberger have only one knockout loss apiece.
The heavy hands of these two have resulted in their opponents hitting the deck often. Ellenberger has eight knockdowns during his UFC career, putting him behind only Thiago Alves' 10 in the UFC's welterweight division. Lawler comes in tied at No. 6 with six knockdowns.
Lawler is the more active of the two strikers, landing 3.29 significant strikes per minute, compared to Ellenberger's 2.47. Lawler also absorbs more strikes per minute, averaging 3.28, while Ellenberger absorbs 1.95.
Where Ellenberger has the advantage is in the wrestling department. Ellenberger averages 2.69 takedowns per 15 minutes, while Lawler averages less than half that at 1.12 per 15 minutes. Lawler's takedown defense is also much weaker than Ellenberger's. Lawler defends 65 percent of the takedowns attempted on him, while Ellenberger defends 93 percent.
This is another fight where a submission is unlikely. Lawler averages zero submission attempts per 15 minutes, while Ellenberger's average is 0.4.
Takeya Mizugaki (19-7-2) vs. Francisco Rivera (10-2-0-1)
This bantamweight contest may be flying under the radar, but a glance at the UFC bantamweight record book shows that Mizugaki can make some moves on Saturday night.
Mizugaki has the most significant strike landed in the division with 476, besting Alex Caceres' 419. If Mizugaki has a performance like his last fight, where he landed 152 significant strikes against Nam Phan he can put more distance between himself and the rest of the division.
Mizugaki ranks number one at bantamweight in total strikes landed with 699, Faber is second with 568.
Mizugaki is tied for first with Demetrious Johnson in takedowns with 16. His 59.3 percent accuracy is 11 percent higher than second ranked Dillashaw.
Mizugaki may have more numbers in the 135-pound UFC record book, but don't think Rivera is absent from that discussion. Rivera's four knockdowns landed rank him behind only Michael McDonald's five. His 44.90 percent significant striking accuracy is fifth in the division and his 4.59 strikes landed per minute rank him second to Dillashaw's 4.84. As for his striking defense, Rivera's 68.70 percent is third best in the division.
Jamie Varner (21-9-1-2) vs. James Krause 20-5-0
On paper this lightweight bout looks like Varner will want to use his wrestling, while Krause would prefer to keep the fight standing so he could sling some leather.
Krause lands 4.10 significant strikes per minute, while Varner lands 2.98. Krause is also a more accurate striker, landing 45 percent of his strikes, while Varner lands 34 percent.
In the wrestling department the roles are reversed. Varner lands 3.55 takedowns per 15 minutes, while Krause hits 1.57, but the big discrepancy is in takedown defense. In that department, Varner stops 66 percent of the takedowns attempted on him, while Krause comes in at the very low 14 percent.
All stats via Fightmetric