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UFC November 2021 Recap: Fight Stats + Biggest Takeaways

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While there were only three UFC fight cards during the month of November, the action was delivered as usual. Two title fights took place in the UFC’s return to New York. A featherweight legend continued to cement his legacy. And a new contender may have catapulted herself into a championship opportunity. Join us as we discuss the in-depth stats from each card and give some of our biggest takeaways!

UFC November 2021 Recap: The “Nitty Gritty”

UFC November 2021 Recap

UFC 268: Usman vs Covington (11/6)

  • 14 Fights
    • 7 Decisions
      • 6 Unanimous
      • 1 Split
    • 7 Finishes
      • 7 KO/TKOs
        • 3 in Round One
        • 3 in Round Two
        • 1 in Round Three
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: Justin Gaethje vs Michael Chandler
    • Performance: Marlon Vera (KO), Alex Pereira (TKO), Bobby Green (TKO), and Chris Barnett (TKO)

UFC Vegas 42: Holloway vs Rodriguez (11/13)

  • 11 Fights
    • 2 Decisions
      • 2 Unanimous
    • 9 Finishes
      • 8 KO/TKOs
        • 4 in Round One
        • 2 in Round Two
        • 2 in Round Three
      • 1 Submission
        • 1 in Round One
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: Max Holloway vs Yair Rodriguez
    • Performance: Khaos Williams (TKO), and Andrea Lee (TKO)

UFC Vegas 43: Vieira vs Tate (11/20)

  • 11 Fights
    • 10 Decisions
      • 9 Unanimous
      • 1 Split
    • 1 Finish
      • 1 Submission
        • 1 in Round One
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: Adrian Yanez vs Davey Grant
    • Performance: Taila Santos (Submission)

November 2021 Totals

  • 36 Fights
    • 19 Decisions
      • 17 Unanimous
      • 2 Split
    • 17 Finishes
      • 15 KO/TKOs (0 in Rounds Four or Five)
        • 7 in Round One
        • 5 in Round Two
        • 3 in Round Three
      • 2 Submissions (0 in Rounds Two, Three, Four, or Five)
        • 2 in Round One
  • Total Bonus Money Awarded = $650,000
    • 3 Fight of the Nights
    • 7 Performance Awards

UFC November 2021 Recap: Biggest Takeaways

All-Time Great Status is on the Horizon

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 06: Kamaru Usman smiles against Colby Covington in their welterweight title bout during the UFC 268 event at Madison Square Garden on November 06, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

At UFC 268 we saw Kamaru Usman face and defeat his biggest rival, Colby Covington, in a five-round war. This would result in Usman successfully defending his welterweight title for the fifth time. This mark puts him at second all-time in the 170-pound ranks, alongside UFC legend, Matt Hughes. Who is the only man to have more defenses in this division you may ask? That answer would be Georges St. Pierre, with nine. 

Now, a lot of people have begun titling Kamaru Usman as the best welterweight of all time already, including UFC president, Dana White. There can be an argument made for this since Usman holds the second-longest win streak in UFC history, regardless of weight class, at 15. However, many fans will say there is still more to be proven before surpassing GSP. 

Now, one thing that cannot be denied right now is this. Kamaru Usman is the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world currently. And if the “Nigerian Nightmare” continues his reign of dominance, he not only has the chance to become the greatest welterweight of all time but will also have a shot at becoming the greatest fighter the UFC has ever seen.

So, You Wanna be a Number One Contender?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 06: (R-L) Justin Gaethje punches Michael Chandler in their lightweight bout during the UFC 268 event at Madison Square Garden on November 06, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler went to war in a fight of the year contender at UFC 268, there’s simply no other way to put it. However, the bigger storyline coming into this fight and definitely in the aftermath was this. Who is the next title contender at lightweight following UFC 269 next month, when Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier meet?

Well, before the Gaethje/Chandler slugfest, many felt Islam Makhachev earned it by submitting Dan Hooker in the first round of their UFC 267 featured bout. And while that definitely was a title-earning performance, Gaethje’s win over Chandler had a lot of people torn on which side to choose. With both securing such convincing wins, most of the MMA community went to battle in the days following UFC 268 over what was more impressive. The two options are the nine-fight win streak of Makhachev or the overall “strength of schedule” of Gaethje.

Now, there can be arguments made for both. Clearly, a nine-fight win streak is hard to come by in the UFC, regardless of weight class. And with Dan Hooker being the biggest victory, it is nothing to glance over. However, on the other hand, Justin Gaethje has fought a ranked opponent at the time of their fight, every UFC bout he has had. And, on top of that, he was also the last interim lightweight champion in the division, until losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov last October. So, what side of the debate do you find yourself on?

The Blessed Express Rolls Along

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 13: Max Holloway prepares to fight Yair Rodriguez of Mexico in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez went to war for five rounds in their UFC Vegas 42 main event. Both men put the highest level of striking in the division on display, plus Holloway’s grappling that fans do not get to see too often. “Blessed” would get the unanimous decision nod on the judges’ scorecards 49-46, 48-47 x2.

First and foremost, hats off to Yair Rodriguez. To come into this fight after having been out for over two years and win a round(s) from Holloway is nothing short of impressive. He is one of the brightest young talents in this division, and one can only hope that he can begin to become more active like the beginning of his UFC tenure.

Now, for the former champion, Max Holloway. What more can honestly be said about the pride of Hawaii? His relentless pace, pressure, and striking are second to none. As mentioned earlier, he showed off some excellent grappling and transitional work that we do not see hardly ever. His cardio and chin are some of the best in UFC history. So many would think it is time to run it back a third time with current featherweight king, Alexander Volkanovski. Well, you can’t say it doesn’t make sense, but it sounds like there are plenty of options on the table for Holloway.

Whether that be the title fight with Volk, a second move up to lightweight and begin title contention there, or Mr. Conor McGregor himself, the two tend to have some fun with one another on Twitter. With the whole “best boxer in the UFC” talk that surrounds Holloway, it seems Conor wants to have a say in the matter. Regardless of what comes next, Max Holloway is still a mind-boggling 29 years old and has now amassed 19 victories inside the UFC octagon. A legend already, with so much left to go, ladies and gentlemen, the Blessed Express continues to roll along. 

A True Challenge to the Throne?

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 20: Taila Santos of Brazil reacts after her victory over Joanne Wood of Scotland in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

At UFC Vegas 43, Taila Santos secured the only finish on the 11 fight card, and it was one that should not go unnoticed. That is because she not only submitted top-five contender Joanne Wood but in the process managed to become the first person to drop Wood via strikes on the feet. Oh, and by the way, she did it twice en route to her victory. 

Now, you may read this and think none of it matters due to the pure dominance that the flyweight queen, Valentina Shevchenko, has shown. However, do not sleep on Santos should she make her way to a title shot, which she very well may have done already with such a convincing win. Santos is truly one of the most underrated ranked fighters in all of the UFC and has a super well-rounded skill set. 

At just 28 years old, Taila Santos has already amassed a 19-1 record with 13 of those victories coming by way of finish. She has a slick ground game, with solid top control and transitioning. On the feet, it is clear improvements are being made each time she steps into the cage, and it showed after in this most recent outing. Now, by no means will it be easy for Santos to challenge Shevchenko, let alone beat her. But, Santos must at least be treated as a legitimate threat and the first of the “new age” fighters to contend for the flyweight gold.

What were your biggest takeaways from the month of November? Let us know in the comments below!

Check out my MMA podcast and follow me on Twitter @dsallee14. Also, be sure to follow the team on Twitter @OTHeroicsMMA for more great content! Head over to the Overtime Heroics Forums page to join in on the discussion.

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Dominic Sallee is a Combat Sports writer. He focuses primarily on the UFC, with plans to venture out with pieces from other MMA organizations in the future. Along with writing, Dominic is also the Co-Host of the Below Average Joe's MMA Podcast, which produces 2-3 new episodes per week about all things in the MMA community!