UFC on ESPN 43 pre-event facts: Marlon Vera is the best finisher at 135 pounds
The UFC’s road trip outside of Las Vegas continues Saturday with UFC on ESPN 43, which takes place at the AT&T Center in San Antonio with a main card that airs on ESPN following prelims on ESPN+.
A marquee bantamweight fight is featured in the main event. After their original date was postponed from February, contenders Marlon Vera (20-7-1 MMA, 14-6 UFC) and Cory Sandhagen (15-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) will finally share the octagon in a matchup that will push the winner near the forefront of the title conversation at 135 pounds.
For more on the numbers behind the headliner, as well as the rest of the card, check below for MMA Junkie’s pre-event facts about UFC on ESPN 43.
Vera competes in his third UFC headliner. He’s 2-0 in previous main events.
Vera competes in his 18th UFC bantamweight bout, tied with Pedro Munhoz and Raphael Assuncao for the most appearances in divisional history.
Vera’s 12 victories in UFC bantamweight competition are tied for third-most in divisional history behind Aljamain Sterling (13) and T.J. Dillashaw (13).
Vera’s 10 stoppage victories in UFC bantamweight competition are most in divisional history.
Vera’s six knockout victories in UFC bantamweight competition are second-most in divisional history behind Dillashaw (seven).
Vera’s two knockout victories stemming from head kicks in UFC bantamweight competition are most in divisional history.
Vera’s 10 knockdowns landed in UFC bantamweight competition are tied with Petr Yan for most in divisional history.
Vera is one of two fighters in UFC history to score three knockdowns in back-to-back fights. Conor McGregor also accomplished the feat.
Vera is one of six fighters in UFC history to have two performances with three or more knockdowns landed. McGregor, Donald Cerrone, Anderson Silva, John Lineker and Israel Adesanya also accomplished the feat.
Vera is one of nine fighters in UFC history to earn a knockout stemming from a front kick. He accomplished the feat at UFC 268. There’s been 10 such finishes overall, with Lyoto Machida being the only fighter to win twice with the technique.
Vera’s four submission victories in UFC bantamweight competition are tied for third-most in divisional history behind Faber (six) and Rani Yahya (six).
Vera’s -112 significant strike differential (159 vs. 271) at UFC on ESPN 35 is the largest negative differential for a fighter to win by decision in UFC history. The previous record belonged to Robbie Lawler’s -84 in his championship decision victory over Carlos Condit at UFC 195.
Vera’s six fight-night bonuses for UFC bantamweight bouts are fourth-most in divisional history behind Dillashaw (eight), Munhoz (seven) and Sean O’Malley (seven).
Sandhagen has earned 10 of his 15 career victories by stoppage. That includes six of his eight UFC wins.
Sandhagen’s 28-second knockout victory at UFC Fight Night 184 marked the second fastest flying knee finish in UFC history behind Jorge Masvidal’s five-second win at UFC 239
Sandhagen is one of three fighters in UFC history to earn knockouts stemming from a flying knee and a spinning wheel kick. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Edson Barboza also accomplished the feat.
Sandhagen is one of 14 fighters in UFC history to earn a knockout stemming from a spinning wheel kick. He accomplished the feat at UFC Fight Night 179
Sandhagen and Petr Yan combined for 318 significant strikes landed at UFC 267, the second most in a single UFC bantamweight fight between Marlon Vera vs. Rob Font (430) at UFC on ESPN 35.
[autotag]Holly Holm[/autotag] (14-6 MMA, 7-6 UFC) is 4-6 in her past 10 UFC appearances dating back to November 2015 when she won the UFC women’s bantamweight title.
Holm’s four consecutive losses in UFC title fights are the most for any female in company history.
Holm’s two head-kick knockout victories in UFC competition are the most of any woman in company history.
Holm is one of nine fighters in UFC history to win a championship fight by head-kick knockout. She accomplished the feat at UFC 193.
Holm has been awarded three fight-night bonuses for UFC women’s bantamweight bouts, which is tied for third most in divisional history behind Ronda Rousey (seven), Amanda Nunes (four) and Miesha Tate (four).
[autotag]Yana Santos[/autotag] (14-6 MMA, 7-6 UFC) returns to competition for the first time since July 10, 2021. The 623-day layoff is the longest of her nearly 14-year career.
Santos is 4-2 since she returned to the UFC women’s bantamweight division in October 2018.
Santos lands 57 percent of her significant strike attempts in UFC women’s bantamweight competition, the highest rate in divisional history.
Santos out-landed her opponent 215-to-35 in total strikes at UFC Fight Night 185. The +180 margin is the largest in UFC women’s bantamweight history.
Andrea Lee vs. Maycee Barber
[autotag]Andrea Lee[/autotag] (13-6 MMA, 5-4 UFC) is one of 10 fighters in UFC history to earn a submission victory by triangle-armbar. She accomplished the feat at UFC 262.
[autotag]Maycee Barber[/autotag] (11-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) is 5-2 since she moved up to the UFC women’s flyweight division in March 2019.
Barber’s two knockout victories in UFC women’s flyweight competition are tied for second-most in divisional history behind Valentina Shevchenko (four).
Barber absorbs just 2.21 significant strikes per minute in UFC women’s flyweight competition, the second-best rate in divisional history behind Shevchenko (1.67).
Alex Perez vs. Manel Kape
[autotag]Alex Perez[/autotag]’s (23-7 MMA, 5-3 UFC) average fight time of 4:45 in UFC flyweight competition is shortest in divisional history.
Perez lands 5.24 significant strikes per minute in UFC flyweight competition, the second-highest rate in divisional history behind John Lineker (5.43).
Perez has recorded one of 13 finishes in UFC history stemming from leg kicks. He accomplished the feat at UFC 250.
[autotag]Manel Kape[/autotag]’s (18-6 MMA, 3-2 UFC) three-fight UFC winning streak at flyweight is tied for the second-longest active streak in the division behind Matheus Nicolau (four) and Muhammad Mokaev (four).
Chidi Njokuani vs. Albert Duraev
[autotag]Chidi Njokuani[/autotag] (22-8 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has earned both of his UFC victories by first-round knockout.
Njokuani has earned 14 of his 15 career stoppage victories by knockout.
Njokuani’s 16-second victory at UFC Fight Night 200 marked the second-fastest debut in UFC middleweight history behind Marc Weir’s 10-second win at UFC 38.
Daniel Pineda vs. Tucker Lutz
[autotag]Daniel Pineda[/autotag] (27-14 MMA, 4-5 UFC) is 1-1 with one no contest since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in August 2020.
Pineda has earned all 27 of his career victories by stoppage. That includes all four of his UFC wins.
Pineda’s three submission victories in UFC featherweight competition are tied for fourth-most in divisional history behind Charles Oliveira (six), Chas Skelly (four) and Makwan Amirkhani (four).
Steven Peterson vs. Lucas Alexander
[autotag]Steven Peterson[/autotag] (19-10 MMA, 3-4 UFC) is one of 10 fighters in UFC history to earn a knockout victory stemming from a spinning backfist. He accomplished the feat at UFC on ESPN+ 17.
Trevin Giles vs. Preston Parsons
[autotag]Trevin Giles[/autotag] (15-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) is 1-1 since he dropped to the welterweight division in January 2022.
Giles is one 16 fighters in UFC history to earn victories in three weight classes. He’s won fights at light heavyweight, middleweight and welterweight.
CJ Vergara vs. Daniel da Silva
Daniel Da Silva
[autotag]Daniel Da Silva[/autotag]’s (11-4 MMA, 0-3 UFC) three-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since July 2021.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 43.
UFC research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.