This Saturday, the UFC returns to Pay-Per-View action with a card headlined by two championship bouts.
In the main event, Jon Jones (24-1 MMA, 18-1 UFC) looks to defend his UFC light-heavyweight championship against Brazilian knockout artist Thiago Santos (21-6 MMA, 13-5 UFC).
In the co-main event, Amanda Nunes (17-4 MMA, 10-1 UFC) will attempt to defend her UFC bantamweight title against former champion Holly Holm (12-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC).
Let’s take a look at the last three results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
After a failed drugs test saw his third-round KO win over Daniel Cormier overturned to a no-contest, Jones returned with a third-round TKO over Alexander Gustafsson (in a rematch of their memorable 2013 bout), before beating Anthony Smith via unanimous decision.
Earlier this year, Jones (who will be competing twice in a calendar year for the first time since 2013), broke a UFC record that Maurice Smith and Frank Shamrock had jointly held since the late 1990s. He recorded the fastest defense of a UFC title after first winning that belt. Smith/Shamrock did so 82 days after winning the title, Jones did so after just 63.
Santos has defeated his last three opponents (Eryk Anders, Jimi Manuwa, and Jan Błachowicz) via TKO/KO stoppage, picking up a fight night bonus in each of his last three outings.
Santos was tied for the most UFC wins (3) in 2017, as well as the most TKO/KO stoppages (3). In 2018, Santos again found himself tied for the most UFC wins (4) and held the sole record for most TKO/KO stoppages (3), as well as total fights (5).
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 Jones fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see Santos’ results against the same men.
The two men share just one common opponent; Anthony Smith.
Jones defeated Smith in a five-round unanimous decision in March (despite being deducted two points in round four), whilst Santos beat Smith via second-round TKO last February.
Let’s take a look at the last three results of the two women in Saturday night’s co-main event:
Nunes followed a close decision win over flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko with a fifth-round TKO over Raquel Pennington and a 51-second KO against Cris Cyborg that made Nunes one of four fighters in UFC history to champion two divisions simultaneously.
A victory for Nunes would mean she has defeated every featherweight, bantamweight and flyweight champion in UFC history except for Nicco Montaño.
Holm scored a third-round head kick KO against Bethe Correia in June 2017 before suffering a unanimous decision defeat against Cyborg. Holm rebounded with a unanimous decision victory of her own against Megan Anderson last June.
This will be Holm’s fourth shot at a UFC championship, despite having just five UFC victories to her name.
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 Holm’s results against the same women.
The two women share six common opponents; Cris Cyborg, Germaine de Randamie, Valentina Shevchenko, Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey and Raquel Pennington (all current or former UFC champions except for Pennington).
The pair’s results are somewhat contrasting. Although both fighters scored wins over Rousey and Pennington, Nunes went 5-0 against the other four opponents whilst Holm went 0-4.
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 239: Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos scores a strong +29.
This score ranks 4th out of 44 events in the past year, and 4th out of 13 Pay-Per-View events in the same period.
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 +12 average for all events in the past twelve months, as well as the +21.6 average for Pay-Per-View events in that time frame.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributor to the score is Amanda Nunes (+8), ahead of Arnold Allen (+5) and Thiago Santos (+4).
The lowest individual scorer is Gilbert Melendez (-4), currently 1-5 in UFC competition, whilst two fighters will be making their promotional debut at this event.
Enjoy the fights!