UFC 295 pre-event facts: Alex Pereira’s two-division title bid comes with historic twist

The UFC makes its annual stop in New York on Saturday with UFC 295, which takes place at Madison Square Garden with a pair of title fights that top the pay-per-view main card following prelims on ESPNews and ESPN+.

In the main event, Jiri Prochazka (29-3-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) will return to competition from a significant injury to face Alex Pereira (8-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) for the vacant light heavyweight belt. The co-headliner will see Sergei Pavlovich (17-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) clash with Tom Aspinall (13-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC) in an interim heavyweight championship contest.

For more on the numbers behind the title-fight doubleheader, as well as the rest of the card, check below for MMA Junkie’s post-event facts from UFC 295.

Jiri Prochazka

Jiri Prochazka
Jiri Prochazka

Prochazka returns to competition for the first time since June 12, 2022. The 517-day layoff is the longest of his more than 13-year career.

Prochazka is 22-1-1 in his past 24 fights dating back to June 2013.

Prochazka has earned 28 of his 29 career victories by stoppage. That includes all three of his UFC wins.

Prochazka’s victory at the 4:32 mark of Round 5 marked the second-latest finish in UFC championship fight behind Demetrious Johnson’s win over Kyoji Horiguchi at 4:59 of Round 5 at UFC 186.

Prochazka is one of five fighters in UFC history to earn a knockout stemming from a spinning back elbow. Molly McCann, Ricardo Ramos, Dong Hyun Kim and Uros Medic also accomplished the feat.

Alex Pereira

Alex Pereira
Alex Pereira

Pereira becomes the first fighter to headline multiple UFC events at Madison Square Garden.

Pereira, a former UFC middleweight champion, was successful in his light heavyweight debut at UFC 291 in August.

Pereira is one of 12 undisputed middleweight champions in UFC history.

Pereira’s eight MMA fights before becoming UFC champion is the second-fewest in modern history behind Brock Lesnar’s four.

Pereira can become the ninth fighter in history to win titles in two weight classes. Randy Couture, B.J. Penn, Conor McGregor, Georges St-Pierre, Daniel Cormier, Henry Cejudo, Amanda Nunes and Jon Jones accomplished the feat.

Pereira’s 10 MMA fights, with a win, before becoming a two-division champion would be the fewest in company history.

Pereira lands 62 percent of his significant strike attempts in UFC competition, the second-highest rate among active fighters in the company behind Tatiana Suarez (64 percent).

Sergei Pavlovich

Sergei Pavlovich
Sergei Pavlovich

Pavlovich’s six-fight UFC winning streak in heavyweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Pavlovich has earned 15 of his 17 carer victories by stoppage. He’s finished all 15 of those wins by knockout.

Pavlovich has earned all six of his UFC victories by first-round knockout.

Pavlovich’s six-fight UFC first-round knockout streak is the longest in company history.

Pavlovich’s six-fight UFC knockout streak is tied with Don Frye for second-longest in company history behind Chuck Liddell (seven).

Pavlovich’s six-fight UFC stoppage streak is the longest streak among active fighters in the company.

Pavlovich lands 6.31 knockdowns per 15 minutes in UFC competition, the highest rate in company history.

Pavlovich lands 8.72 significant strikes per minute in UFC heavyweight competition, the highest rate in divisional history and second-highest in company history behind Casey O’Neill (8.77).

Pavlovich’s average fight time of 2:23 in UFC competition is the third-shortest in company history behind Aspinall (2:19) and Drew McFedries (2:20).

Tom Aspinall

Tom Aspinall
Tom Aspinall

Aspinall has earned all 13 of his career victories by stoppage.

Aspinall’s average fight time of 2:19 in UFC competition is the shortest in company history.

Aspinall lands 7.65 significant strikes per minute in UFC heavyweight competition, the second-highest rate in divisional history behind Pavlovich (8.72).

Jessica Andrade

Jessica Andrade
Jessica Andrade

Jessica Andrade (24-12 MMA, 15-10 UFC) competes in her 26th UFC bout, the most appearances by any female in company history

Andrade becomes the first fighter to make five UFC appearances in 2023.

Andrade is one of 17 fighters in UFC history to earn victories in three weight classes. She’s the only female to accomplish the feat, winning at bantamweight, flyweight and strawweight.

Andrade’s three-fight losing skid is the longest of her career. She hasn’t earned a victory since January 2023.

Andrade’s 15 UFC victories are the second-most by any female in company history behind Amanda Nunes (16).

Andrade is 1-2 since she returned to the UFC strawweight division in April 2022.

Andrade’s eight stoppage victories in UFC women’s competition are second-most in company history behind Nunes (10).

Andrade’s five stoppage victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied with Rose Namajunas and Amanda Lemos for most in divisional history.

Andrade is one of 12 fighters in UFC history to earn a knockout stemming from a slam. She accomplished the feat at UFC 237.

Andrade is one of four in history to win a UFC title fight by knockout stemming from a slam. She accomplished the feat at UFC 237.

Andrade landed 231 significant strikes against Lauren Murphy at UFC 283, the single-fight record for a UFC women’s flyweight bout.

Andrade landed 231 significant strikes at UFC 283, the second most in a three-round fight in UFC history behind Nate Diaz’s 238 landed vs. Donald Cerrone at UFC 141.

Andrade landed 242 total strikes against Claudia Gadelha at UFC Fight Night 117, the single-fight record for a UFC strawweight bout.

Andrade earned the only standing arm-triangle choke submission in UFC history with her finish of Amanda Lemos at UFC Fight Night 205.

Andrade’s 10 takedowns landed against Tecia Torres at UFC on FOX 29 is the single-fight record for a women’s UFC bout.

Andrade’s eight fight-night bonuses for UFC strawweight bouts are most in divisional history.

Mackenzie Dern

Mackenzie Dern
Mackenzie Dern

Mackenzie Dern’s (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) four stoppage victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied for fourth-most in divisional history behind Namajunas (five), Andrade (five) and Lemos (five).

Dern’s four submission victories in UFC strawweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Dern’s four submission victories in UFC competition are second-most of any female in company history behind Robertson (seven).

Dern’s five fight-night bonuses for UFC strawweight bouts are third-most in divisional history behind Andrade (eight) and Namajunas (six).

Matt Frevola vs. Benoit Saint-Denis

Matt Frevola
Matt Frevola

Matt Frevola’s (11-3-1 MMA, 5-3-1 UFC) three-fight UFC knockout streak is tied for the second-longest active streak in the company behind Pavlovich (six).

Benoit Saint-Denis (12-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) four-fight UFC winning streak at lightweight is tied with Paddy Pimblett for the second-longest active streak in the division behind Islam Makhachev (12).

Saint-Denis’ four-fight UFC stoppage steak is third-longest among active fighters in the company behind Pavlovich (six) and Shavkat Rakhmonov (five).

Saint-Denis has earned all 12 of his career victories by stoppage.

Pat Sabatini vs. Diego Lopes

Pat Sabatini
Pat Sabatini

Pat Sabatini (18-4 MMA, 5-1 UFC) absorbs just 1.35 significant strikes per minute in UFC featherweight competition, the second-lowest rate in divisional history behind Rani Yahya (1.05).

Loopy Godinez vs. Tabatha Ricci

Loopy Godinez
Loopy Godinez

Loopy Godinez’s (11-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) five-fight UFC winning streak at strawweight is the second-longest active streak in the division behind Suarez (six).

Godinez holds the modern-era record for shortest time between three UFC appearances at 42 days. She competed on Oct. 9, Oct. 16 and Nov. 20 of 2021.

Godinez lands 56.4 percent of her significant strike attempts in UFC strawweight competition, the third-best rate in divisional history behind Suarez (63.3 percent) and Loma Lookboonmee (58.7 percent).

Godinez has landed 26 takedowns in UFC strawweight competition, the third-most in divisional history behind Carla Esparza (45) and Claudia Gadelha (36).

Godinez lands 61.9 percent of her takedown attempts in UFC strawweight competition, the second-bate rate in divisional history behind Suarez (65.8 percent).

Tabatha Ricci’s (9-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) four-fight UFC winning streak at strawweight is tied for the third-longest active streak in the division behind Suarez (six) and Godinez (five).

Ricci has earned three of her four UFC victories by decision.

Jared Gordon vs. Mark Madsen

Jared Gordon
Jared Gordon

Jared Gordon (19-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC) has earned six of his seven UFC victories by decision.

Gordon lands 57.1 percent of his significant strike attempts in UFC lightweight competition, the third-highest rate in divisional history behind Makhachev (61.3 percent) and Justin Gaethje (60.3 percent).

John Castaneda vs. Kyung Ho Kang

Kyung Ho Kang
Kyung Ho Kang

Kyung Ho Kang (19-9 MMA, 8-3 UFC) is 6-2 since he returned to competition from a nearly 3.5-year layoff in January 2018.

Kang’s four submission victories in UFC bantamweight competition are tied for third-most in divisional history behind Rani Yahya (six) and Urijah Faber (six).

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 295.

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

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie