UFC Fight Night 49 pre-fight facts: Benson Henderson in eighth straight headliner


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On Saturday the UFC boasts two fight cards on one day for the third time in history, and in the second half of this weekend’s doubleheader, the octagon touches down in Tulsa with UFC Fight Night 49.

In the main event, one of the organization’s most consistent headliners returns to action as lightweight Benson Henderson (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) looks to continue his quest back to UFC gold when he takes on Rafael dos Anjos (21-7 MMA, 10-5 UFC) in a five-round bout. Henderson is ranked No. 2, while dos Anjos is No. 9 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings.

Henderson is one of the most successful 155-pound fighters in UFC history, and is eager to build on an already impressive resume. Dos Anjos, one of the longest tenured athletes in the division, will undoubtedly try to build his own name off that stature.

For more on the numbers behind the main event, as well as the other 10 bouts slated for the card, here are 45 pre-fight facts about UFC Fight Night 49.

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MAIN EVENT

Henderson will compete in his eighth consecutive five-round UFC main event. He is 7-1 in those headlining appearances.

Henderson became the first former UFC lightweight champion to win his first fight after losing his belt when he defeated Josh Thomson at UFC on FOX 10.

Henderson’s seven-fight UFC winning streak prior to his loss to Anthony Pettis at UFC 164 was tied for the second longest streak in divisional history behind Gray Maynard (eight).

Henderson has earned eight of his nine UFC victories by decision. He is the only fighter in UFC history to start his career with the promotion with eight decision wins.

Henderson’s average fight time of 19:06 is the longest in UFC lightweight history and second longest of any fighter in company history with at least five bouts behind Jose Aldo (20:20). His total fight time of 4:22:58 in UFC/WEC lightweight competition is the most in the combined history of the two organizations.

Henderson’s strike differential rate of +1.56 is the third best in UFC lightweight history among fighters with at least five bouts behind T.J. Grant (+2.19) and Ramsey Nijem (+2.17).

Henderson has completed 46 takedowns in UFC/WEC lightweight competition, the third most in the combined history of the two organizations behind Gleison Tibau (71) and Clay Guida (48).

Henderson has landed 56.5 percent of his takedowns attempts in the UFC, the fifth best rate in UFC lightweight history. He has landed 24 of his 26 takedowns in the octagon from the clinch position.

Dos Anjos is 6-1 in his past seven UFC appearances with the lone defeat in that stretch coming to USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie’s No. 6-ranked lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Dos Anjos has earned four his past five UFC victories by decision. He has earned six of his 10 wins with the promotion overall by taking his opponent the distance.

Dos Anjos has attempted 12 submissions during his UFC career. Of those, nine were either armbar or shoulder locks. Those nine armbar or shoulder lock attempts are the fourth most in UFC history.

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CO-MAIN EVENT

Mike Pyle (26-9-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC), 38, is the oldest active fighter in the UFC’s welterweight division and is also the oldest of the 22 fighters scheduled to compete at UFC 170.

Pyle is the only fighter in UFC welterweight history and one of seven in UFC history overall to record first-round knockout victories in three consecutive fights. “Quicksand” accomplished the feat in 2012 when he stopped Ricardo Funch, Josh Neer and James Head all in the opening frame.

Pyle has recorded third-round finishes on three separate occasions under the UFC banner. The only fighter to record more stoppages in the third round is former two-division champion Randy Couture, who accomplished the feat six times.

Pyle has earned four of his past five UFC victories by knockout.

Pyle has suffered eight of his nine professional losses by knockout or submission. He has been stopped in all four of his UFC defeats.

Jordan Mein (28-9 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has earned 22 of his 28 professional victories by knockout (15) or submission (seven).

Mein is the first fighter to have ever knocked down Matt Brown in UFC competition. He accomplished the feat at UFC on FOX 7, but ultimately lost the fight via second-round stoppage.

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REMAINING MAIN CARD

Francis Carmont (22-9 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has lost his past two UFC fights after starting his career with the organization by recording six consecutive victories.

Carmont has fought to a decision in six of his eight UFC appearances.

Carmont absorbs just 1.5 significant strikes per minute of fighting, the second lowest rate among active UFC middleweights with at least five bouts behind Nate Marquardt (1.35).

Thales Leites’ (23-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) three-fight UFC winning streak is tied for the fifth longest active streak in the middleweight division behind champion Chris Weidman (eight), Vitor Belfort (four), Yoel Romero (four) and Clint Hester (four).

Leites enters the event on a six-fight MMA winning streak, his longest run of victories since 2006.

Leites is 3-0 since returning to the UFC for a second stint in August 2013.

Leites has attempted 13 submissions in his UFC career and is tied with Ed Herman for the second most among active middleweights behind Marquardt (14).

Max Holloway (9-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC), 22, is the youngest of the 22 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Holloway will make his ninth UFC featherweight appearance and will tie Steven Siler for the most fights in divisional history behind Dustin Poirier (nine).

Holloway’s five knockdowns landed in UFC competition are tied with Dennis Bermudez for the most of any fighter in featherweight history.

Holloway has landed 497 significant strikes in UFC competition, the most of any fighter in featherweight history. “Blessed” lands 5.27 significant strikes per minute of fighting, the second highest striking rate in UFC featherweight history.

Holloway’s 70.3 percent striking defense rate ranks third in UFC featherweight history behind Chad Mendes (77.4 percent) and Jose Aldo (72.1 percent).

Holloway is one of two fighters in UFC/WEC featherweight history to land 100 or more significant strikes in two or more fights. Nam Phan has accomplished the feat three times.

Holloway’s submission of Andre Fili at 3:39 of Round 3 at UFC 172 stands as the latest submission ever in a three-round UFC featherweight bout. It was also the second latest submission overall in divisional history behind Chan Sung Jung’s finish of Dustin Poirier at 1:07 of Round 4 at UFC on FUEL TV 3.

James Vick (5-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will compete in just his second professional bout since September 2011.

Vick, who stands at 6-foot-3, is the tallest lightweight on the UFC roster.

Vick‘s 58-second submission of Ramsey Nijem was the second fastest in history for a debuting UFC lightweight. Charles Oliveira‘s 41-second tapout of Darren Elkins at UFC on Versus 2 leads the category.

Vick has finished his opponent by knockout or submission in all but one of his professional wins.

Valmir Lazaro (12-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes his UFC debut on an 11-fight winning streak. He has not suffered a professional loss since May 2010.

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PRELIMINARY CARD

Neil Magny (11-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) is one of two fighters to register three victories under the UFC banner in 2014. He knocked out Rodrigo de Lima at UFC Fight Night 43 and scored decisions over Tim Means and Gasan Umalatov at UFC Fight Night 40 and UFC 169, respectively.

Magny’s three-fight UFC winning streak is tied for the fourth longest active streak in the welterweight division behind Dong Hyun Kim (five), Ryan LaFlare (four) and Gunnar Nelson (four).

Alex Garcia (12-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has earned 10 of his 12 career victories by knockout or submission, nine in the first round.

Beneil Dariush’s (7-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) submission of Charlie Brenneman at 1:45 of Round 1 at UFC Fight Night 35 was the fourth fastest tap-out earned by a debuting UFC lightweight.

Aaron Phillips (5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) drops to the bantamweight division after losing a decision to Sam Sicilia in a featherweight contest at UFC 173.

Ben Saunders (16-6-2 MMA, 4-3 UFC) returns to the UFC for the first time since an August 2010 release from the organization. He fought 10 times for Bellator MMA in between UFC stints.

Wilson Reis (17-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) drops to the flyweight division for the first time in his career after competing in his first two UFC bouts at bantamweight.

Joby Sanchez (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has earned all six of his career wins by knockout (three) or submission (three).

For more on UFC Fight Night 49, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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