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UFC 235 fighter fun facts

Missouri's Ben Askren celebrates after beating Northwestern's Jake

Missouri's Ben Askren celebrates after beating Northwestern's Jake Herbert in the 174-pound final of the NCAA championships on March 18, 2006. Photo Credit: AP/Ty Russell

UFC 235 is set for Saturday, March 2, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Learn a fun fact or two about each of the fighters scheduled to compete.

Light heavyweight title fight: Champion Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith

Jon Jones is one of six former New York State high school wrestling champions to reach the UFC, and one of two to win a UFC title. As a junior at Union-Endicott High School in 2004, Jones lost to Jack Sullivan of Huntington in the semifinals at 189 pounds. The following year, the two met in the state final at 189 with Jones winning by decision, 2-1, to claim the state title.

After three straight wins, all by finish, for Anthony Smith, he opens the week as a massive betting underdog, with odds as high as +700 in some online gaming sites.

Welterweight title fight: Champion Tyron Woodley vs. Kamaru Usman

A win here would give Tyron Woodley a fifth consecutive title defense, tying him with Matt Hughes for the second longest streak in the UFC welterweight championship history.

As a wrestler in college, Kamaru Usman competed under the name Marty Usman. He won the NCAA Division II national title at 174 pounds in 2010 as a senior at Nebraska Kearney.

Ben Askren vs. Robbie Lawler

Ben Askren was the first University of Missouri wrestler to win a national title. He won the 174-pound NCAA title in 2006 and again in 2007. He was a college wrestling teammate of Woodley.

In his last six fights dating to 2014, a run that includes winning the welterweight title and succesfully defending it twice, Robbie Lawler has been in the octagon for 113 hours and 12 minutes. In those 24 rounds, he was outstruck 735-562.

Tecia Torres vs. Weili Zhang

Tecia Torres, fiancée of UFC bantamweight fighter Raquel Pennington, earned a master's degree in criminology from Florida Atlantic while still training and competing in the UFC.

Of Weili Zhang's 18 pro victories, 16 have been via stoppage: nine by KO/TKO and seven by submission.

Cody Garbrandt vs. Pedro Munhoz

Last year, Cody Garbrandt published his autobiography, "The Pact: A UFC Champion, a Boy with Cancer, and Their Promise to Win the Ultimate Battle." It begins with Garbrandt in fifth grade fighting another fifth-grader who he wrote had a probation officer. But, the book digs deeper on Garbrandt and the promise he and a 5-year-old boy with leukemia, Maddux Maple, made good on in the years since.

Pedro Munhoz ranks fourth in UFC bantamweight history with 5.02 strikes landed per minute (minimum five fights), according to FightMetric.

Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Jeremy Stephens

Zabit Magomedsharipov attended the "Five Directions of the World" martial arts boarding school in Dagestan, Russia, where he trained in Wushu and Sanda, combat forms of kung fu.

Jeremy Stephens is in a three-way tie for most knockdowns landed in UFC history with 18. He's tied with Anderson Silva and Donald Cerrone, both of whom still are active.

Johnny Walker vs. Misha Cirkunov

In each of his first two UFC bouts, Johnny Walker has left with Performance of the Night bonuses, first for a KO elbow against Khalil Rountree Jr., then for a TKO finish of Justin Ledet off a spinning back fist.

Misha Cirkunov is 1-0 since moving from Toronto to Las Vegas to establish a deeper and more organized training regimen.

Cody Stamann vs. Alejandro Perez

The 29-year-old Alejandro Perez has been a professional since age 16, fighting four times before his 18th birthday.

Cody Stamann was stopped for the first time in his 19-fight professional career in his last bout, losing by submission to Long Island's Aljamain Sterling.

Diego Sanchez vs. Mickey Gall

This will be the 29th UFC fight for Diego Sanchez, tying him for third all-time with Michael Bisping, Jeremy Stephens and Demian Maia. Sanchez began his career in 2002 and had his first official UFC fight in 2005 when he beat Kenny Florian to become the middleweight winner on Season 1 of "The Ultimate Fighter."

While a full-time student at Rutgers earlier this decade, Mickey Gall drove an overnight bread truck for Wal-Mart, making deliveries across New Jersey. He used that money to finance his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.

Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Charles Byrd

Edmen Shahbazyan is managed by UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey and coached by Edmond Tarverdyan, who coached the former champion before she left MMA.

Charles Byrd told the UFC's official website that his hero is Muhammad Ali. "Everything about his journey to becoming the greatest ever has inspired me," Byrd said.

Gina Mazany vs. Macy Chiasson

According to a 2018 story in their hometown paper, the Anchorage Daily News, Gina Mazany and her brother Dave often compete in tag-team wrestling matches in casinos in Las Vegas, where they now live, to make extra money.

Macy Chiasson won more fights (3) en route to winning Season 28 of "The Ultimate Fighter" than she had won (2) before being selected for the UFC's reality series.

 

Polyana Viana vs. Hannah Cifers

Polyana Viana made headlines in January in her native Brazil when she defended herself against a would-be mugger.

Hannah Cifers was a 2013 national WKA amateur K1 champion in kickboxing.

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