UFC on ESPN+ 6 pre-event facts: Justin Willis looks to pass champ Daniel Cormier

On Saturday, the UFC makes its return to Tennessee after nearly two years away with UFC on ESPN+ 6, which takes place at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and streams on ESPN+.

A welterweight fight with great potential for excitement headlines the card as perennial contender Stephen Thompson (14-3-1 MMA, 9-3-1 UFC) returns to competition after 10 months on the sidelines to take on former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis (21-8 MMA, 8-7 UFC), who competes in his third UFC weight class.

For more on the numbers behind the UFC’s fifth fight card in Nashville, check below for 45 pre-event facts about UFC on ESPN+ 6.

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Main event

Thompson competes in his sixth UFC headliner. He’s 3-2 in previous main events.

Thompson is 1-2-1 in his past four fights dating back to November 2016.

Thompson’s nine knockdowns landed in UFC welterweight competition are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind Thiago Alves (13), Jake Ellenberger (11) and Tyron Woodley (10).

Thompson’s five knockout victories since 2012 in UFC welterweight competition are second most in the division behind Matt Brown (seven).

Thompson’s five fight-night bonuses since 2012 for UFC welterweight bouts are tied for third most in the division behind Erick Silva (seven) and Brown (six).

Thompson has suffered all three of his career losses by decision.

Pettis moves up to the welterweight division for the first time in his 22-fight UFC/WEC career. He’s also competed at lightweight and featherweight.

Pettis has alternated wins and losses over his past seven fights. He lost his most recent bout against Tony Ferguson at UFC 229.

Pettis is 3-6 in his past nine UFC appearance dating back to when he lost the UFC lightweight title in March 2015.

Pettis is the only fighter in UFC history to win consecutive UFC lightweight title fights by submission.

Pettis’ nine stoppage victories in UFC/WEC lightweight competition are tied for fifth most in divisional history behind Donald Cerrone (14), Nate Diaz (12), Joe Lauzon (12) and Jim Miller (10).

Pettis’ five submission victories from a bottom position in UFC/WEC competition are tied with Nate Diaz for most in combined company history.

Co-main event

Curtis Blaydes (10-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has earned eight of his 10 career victories by stoppage.

Blaydes completes 55.9 percent of all his takedown attempts in UFC heavyweight competition, the highest rate among active fighters in the weight class.

Blaydes’ takedown rate of 6.75 per 15 minutes of fighting is highest in UFC heavyweight history and second highest overall in company history behind Gregor Gillespie (7.44).

Blaydes’ 33 takedowns landed in UFC heavyweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Cain Velasquez (34).

Blaydes’ 10 takedowns landed against Mark Hunt at UFC 221 tied the record for second most in a single UFC heavyweight fight behind Velasquez’s 11 takedowns landed at UFC 155.

Justin Willis’ (8-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) four-fight UFC winning streak in heavyweight competition is tied with Daniel Cormier for the longest active streak in the division.

Willis is one of three heavyweights in UFC history to earn knockouts stemming from a knee and an elbow strike. Tai Tuivasa and Cheick Kongo also accomplished the feat.

Willis has earned three of his four UFC victories by decision.

Remaining main card

John Makdessi (16-6 MMA, 9-6 UFC) is one of six fighters in UFC history to earn a knockout stemming from a spinning back fist. He accomplished the feat at UFC 129.

Makdessi defends 71.4 percent of opponent significant strike attempts in UFC lightweight competition, the second highest rate among active fighters in the weight class behind Desmond Green (71.5 percent).

Makdessi defends 86.8 percent of all opponent takedown attempts in UFC lightweight competition, the third best among active fighters in the weight class behind Donald Cerrone (88.9 percent) and Mairbek Taisumov (87.5 percent).

Jussier Formiga’s (22-5 MMA, 8-4 UFC) competes in his 13th UFC flyweight bout, the fifth most appearances in divisional history behind Demetrious Johnson (15), Joseph Benavidez (15), John Moraga (14) and Dustin Ortiz (14).

Formiga’s three-fight UFC winning streak in flyweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Henry Cejudo (four) and Deiveson Figueiredo (four).

Formiga’s eight victories in UFC flyweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Johnson (13) and Benavidez (12).

Formiga’s three submission victories in UFC flyweight competition are tied for second most in divisional history behind Johnson (five).

Formiga defends 85.2 percent of all opponent takedown attempts in UFC flyweight competition, the second highest rate in divisional history behind Ian McCall (90 percent).

Deiveson Figueiredo’s (15-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) 15-fight MMA winning streak is the longest of any fighter in the UFC flyweight division.

Figueiredo’s four-fight UFC winning streak in flyweight competition is tied with Cejudo for the longest active streak in the division.

Figueiredo has earned 13 of his 15 career victories by stoppage. All three of his UFC finishes are by knockout.

Luis Pena (3-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) drops to the UFC featherweight division after spending his previous octagon appearances at lightweight.

Steven Peterson (17-7 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his past seven fights. He won his most recent bout at The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale in July.

Maycee Barber (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), 20, is the youngest of the 24 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Barber moves up to the UFC women’s flyweight division after making her promotional debut at strawweight.

J.J. Aldrich (7-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) moves up to the UFC women’s flyweight division after spending her previous four octagon appearances at strawweight.

Aldrich has earned all three of her UFC victories by decision.

Preliminary card

Bobby Moffett (14-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned his past three victories by submission using the Brabo choke. That includes his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 139.

Frankie Saenz (13-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC), 38, is the oldest of the 24 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Saenz has earned all five of his UFC victories by decision.

Alexis Davis (19-8 MMA, 6-3 UFC) is 1-1 since she dropped to the UFC flyweight division in December 2017.

Randa Markos (8-6-1 MMA, 4-5-1 UFC) competes in her 11th UFC strawweight bout, tied with Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the most appearances in divisional history.

Markos has completed at least one takedown against nine of her 10 UFC opponents.

Markos and Marina Rodriguez fought to the first draw in UFC strawweight history at UFC Fight Night 137 in September.

Angela Hill (8-5 MMA, 3-5 UFC) is 2-3 since she returned to the UFC for a second stint in February 2017.

Hill’s two knockdowns landed in UFC strawweight competition are tied with Rose Namajunas for most in divisional history.

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 6, 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.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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