For the second time this year, we’ll be treated to two UFC title-fights atop of a Pay-Per-View event.
Headlining the card, reigning UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo (14-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) steps up to bantamweight to face Marlon Moraes (22-5-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) for the vacant UFC bantamweight championship.
A victory for Cejudo would see him join Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes and Daniel Cormier in the short list of fighters who have championed two UFC weight classes concurrently.
In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko (16-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) looks to make the first defense of her UFC flyweight title against Jessica Eye (14-6 MMA, 4-5 UFC).
Let’s take a look at the last three results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
Cejudo followed a decision victory over Sergio Pettis with a historic win over Demetrious Johnson, the top-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC at the time, to claim the UFC flyweight title. Cejudo made the first defense of his title with a 32-second TKO victory over then UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, himself ranked fifth in the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings at the time.
The last time Cejudo fought at bantamweight it was following an ultimatum from Dana White; to move up a weight class or leave the promotion, after multiple instances of missing the flyweight limit. The circumstances couldn’t be more different this time around, as Cejudo steps up as reigning UFC flyweight champion for a shot at the vacant bantamweight gold.
Moraes followed consecutive first-round KO victories over Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera (the former a Knockout of the Year contender) with a first-round submission over Raphael Assunção that avenged his lone UFC defeat.
Moraes has picked up a Performance of the Night bonus in each of his last three fights, with all three fights combined lasting less than one round (4:57 in total).
Let’s take a look at the last three results of the two women in Saturday night’s co-main event:
Shevchenko suffered a split-decision loss to Amanda Nunes whilst contending for the UFC bantamweight title in 2017, a verdict that 12 out of 22 polled media members disagreed with. After dropping to flyweight, Shevchenko scored a second-round submission win against Priscilla Cachoeira, out-landing her opponent by 230 strikes to 3 in a severe mismatch.
Shevchenko finally got her hands on UFC gold last December, out-pointing former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk en route to a five-round unanimous decision victory, claiming the vacant flyweight title.
Eye fought three times last year, sandwiching a unanimous decision victory over Jessica-Rose Clark in between split-verdict wins against Kalindra Faria and Katlyn Chookagian. Like Shevchenko, Eye moved to flyweight in early 2018 and is a perfect 3-0 in the division.
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 Shevchenko fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see Eye’s results against the same women.
The two women share two common opponents; Julianna Peña and Sarah Kaufman.
Shevchenko scored a second-round submission win over Peña in January 2017, whilst Eye suffered a three-round unanimous decision defeat to Peña in October 2015.
Shevchenko notched a split-decision win over Kaufman in December 2015, as Eye had back in October 2013, until a positive test for marijuana saw the Texas commission overturn the result to a no contest. Had that result stood, Eye would have fought to five split-decision verdicts in ten UFC bouts.
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 238: Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes posts an extremely high score of +44.
This score ranks 2nd out of all 41 events in the last year, and joint-7th out of 481 events in UFC history.
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 +11.3 average for all events in the last year, as well as the +19.2 average for Pay-Per-View events in the same time frame.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributor to the score is Tony Ferguson (+11), ahead of Henry Cejudo, Marlon Moraes, Petr Yan, Tatiana Suarez and Nina Ansaroff (all +4) and Jessica Eye, Donald Cerrone, Aljamain Sterling, Pedro Munhoz and Xiaonan Yan (all +3).
The lowest scorers are Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Eddie Wineland (both -2), whilst one fighter will be making their promotional debut on this card.
Enjoy the fights!