This Saturday, in Rio de Janeiro, Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC) will attempt to make the third successful defence of her UFC bantamweight title when she takes on Raquel Pennington (9-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC).
For the first time since UFC 220 in January, a UFC Pay-Per-View main event looks set to go ahead as originally planned with no late-notice withdrawals or changes.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two women in Saturday night’s main event:
In 2016, Nunes scored back-to-back first-round stoppages over former UFC champions, first claiming the title with a submission win over Miesha Tate before making her first successful defense with a TKO of Ronda Rousey.
Almost a year later, Nunes made her second successful defense in a split-decision victory over Valentina Shevchenko- the second time Nunes has defeated Shevchenko in her career. Of 22 polled media members, 10 scored the rematch for Nunes, 10 scored it in favor of Shevchenko and 2 gave a draw.
Pennington had a busy 2016, following a split-decision victory over Bethe Correia with unanimous decision wins over Elizabeth Phillips and former champion Miesha Tate.
Pennington hasn’t competed since that impressive win over Tate, largely due to suffering a broken leg following an ATV accident. Nunes is a tough test for someone returning from such a long layoff and Pennington has been made a sizeable underdog with the bookmakers.
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 Nunes fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see Pennington’s results against the same women.
The two women share three common opponents; Raquel Pa’aluhi, Cat Zingano and Miesha Tate.
Nunes and Pennington’s aforementioned wins over Tate in 2016 were separated by just a matter of months, as were their first-round submission victories over Pa’aluhi back in 2012.
Both fighters suffered losses to Zingano, with Nunes succumbing to a third-round TKO in 2014, whilst Pennington lost via second-round submission in 2012.
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. Only UFC results are considered and a fighter coming off a no-contest, a draw, or a bout with another promotion has a streak of 0. 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 224: Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington checks in with a score of +30.
This score ranks joint-5th of 41 events in the last year and lies in the top 5% of all 437 events’ scores in UFC history.
Of 32 UFC events that have been held in South America, only UFC 198 (+43) beats this score.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
As you can see, this score is significantly higher than the +9.9 average for all events in the last 12 months, as well as the +24.6 average for Pay-Per-View cards in that same period.
The highest individual contributor to the score is Amanda Nunes (+6), ahead of Raquel Pennington and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (both +4) and Alberto Mina and Nick Hein (both +3).
Of 13 fights on the card, 10 see both fighters coming off UFC victories and no one is making their promotional debut at UFC 224.
The lowest scorers are Oleksiy Oliynyk, Júnior Albini, Thales Leites, Jack Hermansson, Markus Perez and James Bochnovic (all -1).
There are only 6 fighters entering the card on the back of a UFC loss, that’s fewer than at any other event this year. It’s also the only main card in 2018 where every fighter is coming off at least one UFC victory.
Enjoy the fights!