Time to round 'em up.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to its home of Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC 173: "Barao vs. Dillashaw," which takes place tonight (May 24, 2014) from MGM Grand Garden Arena.
In the main event, UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao battles Team Alpha Male-trained standout T.J. Dillashaw for the coveted 135-pound title. Both combatants have impressive numbers going into this bout and the most fascinating stat of them all could be the Brazilian's unbeaten run of 32 fights dating back to 2004.
Meanwhile, Daniel Cormier can secure a light heavyweight title shot if he beats Dan Henderson in the co-main event. Their contest was supposed to be a title eliminator bout until UFC boss Dana White backpedaled on "Hendo's" situation.
Also on the pay-per-view (PPV) card, the welterweights tangle as former UFC 170-pound title challenger Robbie Lawler battles Jake Ellenberger, who will look to improve his status as a top contender.
With that being said, check out some "Barao vs. Dillashaw" pre-fight stats (courtesy of our friends at FightMetric):
Main Event (UFC Bantamweight Championship)
-- Six finishes in UFC/WEC (tied first with Brian Bowles for most in bantamweight history)
-- Third largest proportion of distance strikes among active bantamweights (94 percent of significant strikes landed are distance strikes)
-- One of three fighters to acquire a knockout/technical knockout stemming from a spinning back kick in UFC
-- Stuffed 17 out of 17 takedown attempts in UFC
The champion shows us the reason he's deadly on the feet, able of making quick work out of any opponent by patiently waiting to pick his shots from a distance. Dillashaw is a very good wrestler, but it's going to be shocking if he lands a takedown on the Brazilian based on his track record. Barao has also stuffed 22 out of 23 takedown attempts in UFC and WEC combined, possessing the highest defense in bantamweight history.
-- Lands 4.84 significant strikes per minute (highest rate in UFC/WEC bantamweight history, minimum five fights)
-- Landed 117 significant strikes against Mike Easton at UFC Fight Night 35 (tally tied for fifth most strikes by UFC/WEC bantamweights)
-- Second largest ground strike proportion in UFC/WEC bantamweight history (33.8 percent of significant strikes are ground strikes)
-- Stuffed nine out of nine takedown attempts in UFC
You can bet your bottom dollar this fight will stay on the feet once someone stuffs his adversary's takedown ... if one of the main event competitors even goes for a takedown at all. Dillashaw's numbers are impressive, especially his strikes per minute. If he can hit Barao clean, the only way to trouble the champion is to keep the blows coming.
Co-Main Event (Light Heavyweight Bout)
- 13 knockouts in UFC, PRIDE and Strikeforce (tied with Anderson Silva for fourth most knockouts/technical knockouts in the combined history of those promotions)
-- Defeated 10 fighters who held belts in UFC, PRIDE and Strikeforce
-- 18 knockdowns in UFC, PRIDE and Strikeforce (tied with Wanderlei Silva for second most in the combined history of those promotions)
-- 48 takedowns in UFC, PRIDE and Strikeforce (fourth most by a fighter at 183 pounds or higher)
Unless you started watching MMA three weeks ago, it's obvious the Temecula-based slugger is a living legend. His best days could be behind him; however, he's still competing at a high level in UFC and opponents need to be wary of his dangerous right hand and wrestling, too. He's so well rounded that he's a tough match for anyone ... and a joy to watch.
-- Most wins (8), knockouts (4) and greatest number of significant strikes landed (305) in Strikeforce heavyweight history
-- Fifth fastest knockout/technical knockout in UFC light heavyweight debut (against Patrick Cummins at UFC 170)
-- Landed more significant strikes than any of his UFC and Strikeforce opponents
-- Landed 456 significant strikes while absorbing 156 significant strikes
If "DC" steamrolls through Henderson, we may be looking at one of the sport's most fascinating athletes. Looking at his strike differential, he doesn't take too much damage while dishing out punishment, and he can finish a fight just about as good as anyone. His Strikeforce numbers are staggering, too, since he only competed eight times for the now-defunct organization.
-- 19 finishes in 22 wins
-- Smallest amount of opponent ground control among active UFC welterweights (4.6 percent)
-- Lands 3.88 significant strikes per minute (fourth highest rate among active UFC welterweights
-- 150 significant strikes landed against Johny Hendricks at UFC 171 in his last fight (third most landed in a championship fight)
It's going to be tough for "The Juggernaut" to have his way against "Ruthless" in the grappling battles, since taking down Lawler and keeping him on the mat is going to be a tall order. Lawler is also coming off his war against Hendricks, in which he threw a great deal of punches in bunches. Expect the same from the gritty welterweight. Also, his finishing rate is pretty unbelievable.
-- Five wins by knockout/technical knockout (tied for fifth in UFC welterweight history)
-- Eight knockdowns in UFC (tied for second in UFC welterweight history)
-- Stuffed 14 out of 15 takedown attempts in UFC
-- Second highest takedown accuracy among active UFC welterweights (55.9%, minimum five fights and 20 attempts)
There are some doubters out there who feel Ellenberger is overrated, although, his numbers don't lie. His standup game is dangerous, and even though he may have a difficult time when it comes to his wrestling in this fight, he could surprise and land a few takedowns for good measure. Stylistically, it's a perfect clash.
That's a wrap.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 173 fight card on fight night (Sat., May 24, 2014), starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised under card bouts at 8 p.m. ET and then main card PPV, which is slated to begin at 10 p.m. ET.