On five occasions in UFC history, a defeated champion has been given the chance to reclaim their title with an immediate rematch against the fighter who took their belt. Those fighters (Randy Couture, Andrei Arlovski, B.J. Penn, Frankie Edgar and Anderson Silva) are 1-4 in these immediate rematches, with only Couture finding success back at UFC 49 in 2004.
José Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) will become the sixth UFC fighter to receive such an opportunity when he takes on the man who took his belt in June- Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC). This wasn’t the original plan for UFC 218, with Aldo stepping in after Holloway’s originally scheduled opponent, Frankie Edgar, suffered a training injury less than four weeks ago.
If Holloway were to defeat Aldo on Saturday, it would mark the first time the UFC featherweight title was successfully defended since October 2014.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
Holloway is current riding an 11-fight winning streak- a record in UFC featherweight history- and has not lost a fight since he was 21 years old. He followed an entertaining unanimous decision victory against Ricardo Lamas with back-to-back third-round TKO stoppages over former UFC champions Anthony Pettis and José Aldo.
Aldo rebounded from his 13-second KO loss to Conor McGregor in 2015- Aldo’s first loss in over ten years- with a clear decision victory over Frankie Edgar to claim the interim UFC featherweight title. Aldo was then reinstated as undisputed champion after the belt was stripped from McGregor, but would go on to lose that title to Holloway in their aforementioned bout in June.
Here’s a look at how these two fighters fared when competing against common opponents shared throughout their careers. On the left of the graphic, you’ll see how Holloway fared against any shared opponents, and on the right, you’ll see Aldo’s results against the same men.
Both men went 2-1 against their shared opponents, each earning stoppage wins against Cub Swanson and decision victories over Ricardo Lamas, but coming up short against current UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.
The Dwyer Score
Each event, I calculate a ‘Dwyer Score’ for the card. It essentially gives a numeric value to the momentum of fighters competing at any one event. I do this by assigning a figure to each fighter’s current streak; a fighter on a five-fight winning streak contributes +5 to an event’s score, whilst a fighter on a two-fight losing streak contributes -2 to the score. A fighter coming off a No Contest, a draw, or a bout with another promotion has a streak of 0, and only UFC results are considered. When you tally up the scores for every fighter on a card, you get a total for the event- the ‘Dwyer Score.’ This score does not claim to predict or measure the quality or excitement of any one card, but it does give you an idea of the general momentum of fighters heading into a specific event. The graphic to the above-right displays some of the highest-scoring events of all time, to help give some context to this score.
UFC 218: Holloway vs. Aldo II comes in with a huge Dwyer Score of +38. It’s the 9th-highest score in UFC’s 421-event history, registering in the top 2.5% of all scores since 1993.
This score ranks 3rd of all 36 events in 2017, and 3rd amongst 11 Pay-Per-View cards this year.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
As you can see, this score far exceeds the average of +10.8 for all events this year, as well as the +22.6 average for strictly Pay-Per-View events.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributor to this score is Max Holloway (+11), ahead of Francis Ngannou (+5) and Sergio Pettis (+4), who could overtake his brother Anthony in terms of UFC victories with a win this weekend. The lowest individual scorer is Angela Mangaña (-2).
Eddie Alvarez-Justin Gaethje is, on paper, a fight of the year candidate, whilst Alistair Overeem-Francis Ngannou and Henry Cejudo-Sergio Pettis are two of the best title eliminators that can be made right now at both heavyweight and flyweight.
From the prelims to the main event, this really is a stacked card and undoubtedly one of the best events of the year.
Enjoy the fights!