For the 5th time in the last 6 Pay-Per-View events, a scheduled UFC championship fight has been either reshuffled or cancelled all together.
UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has been pulled from his slated title defense against Brian Ortega after suffering from ‘concussion-like symptoms.’
We still have one of the most anticipated fights of the year in the main event, where UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (18-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) puts his title on the line against UFC light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC).
A win for Cormier would see him join Randy Couture, B.J. Penn, Conor McGregor and Georges St-Pierre in the short list of fighters who have held UFC gold in more than one weight class. He’d also join McGregor as the only champion to hold two UFC titles concurrently.
A win for Miocic would see him extend his record for the most consecutive successful title defenses in UFC heavyweight history.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
Miocic followed back-to-back first-round knockouts over Alistair Overeem and former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos with a dominant five-round unanimous decision win over Francis Ngannou in January.
That decision win over Ngannou brought to an end a streak of 5 consecutive TKO/KO stoppage victories for Miocic.
Cormier notched a second-round submission win over Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson in April 2017 before facing long-time rival Jon Jones last July. The fight originally went down as a third-round TKO loss for Cormier, until Jones’ subsequent drug test failure saw that result overturned to a No Contest and Cormier’s status as UFC light-heavyweight champion reinstated.
Cormier returned with a dominant second-round TKO victory over Volkan Oezdemir in January- fighting on the undercard of the Miocic-Ngannou fight.
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 Miocic fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see Cormier’s results against the same men.
The two champions share just one common opponent; Roy Nelson.
Miocic, a sizeable underdog at the time, defeated ‘Big Country’ via unanimous decision in June 2013. Nelson faced Cormier in his next fight, just four months later, again suffering a unanimous decision loss in what was Cormier’s last fight at heavyweight.
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 226: Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier checks in with a solid score of +19 (down from +37 before the Holloway-Ortega cancellation).
Before Holloway’s withdrawal (the fourth of his last five scheduled fights to fall through), this event would have posted the highest Dwyer Score of 2018, and tied the record for the 10th-highest score of all time.
The score now ranks 9th out of all 42 events in the last year, or 7th out of 14 Pay-Per-View events in the same time frame.
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 +10.6 average for all events in the last twelve months, though it does fall short of the +23.1 average for PPVs in that same period.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributor to the score is Stipe Miocic (+6), followed by Paulo Costa, Paul Felder, Raphael Assunção and Dan Hooker (all +3).
The lowest individual scorer is Mike Perry (-2), just ahead of Francis Ngannou, Michael Chiesa, Anthony Pettis, Drakkar Klose, Jamie Moyle and Emily Whitmire (all -1). No fighters are making their UFC debuts at this event.
Enjoy the fights!