The Dwyer Score- UFC 243: Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya

This Saturday (or Sunday local time), Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium will play host to the tenth title-unification bout in UFC history.

Undisputed middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (20-4 MMA, 11-2 UFC) takes on interim middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (17-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) in an event that could beat the all-time UFC attendance record (56,214 at UFC 193).

Let’s take a look at the last three results of the two men in the main event:

Whittaker followed a second-round TKO victory against Ronaldo Souza with back-to-back decision verdicts (one unanimous, one split) over Yoel Romero. The Reaper has picked up an impressive five fight-night bonuses in his last four bouts.

The Australian holds the unwanted record for the longest title reign before competing in a first title defense (although it’s not Whittaker’s fault that the second Romero fight was not a title defense as the Cuban missed weight).

Adesanya followed a first-round TKO win over Derek Brunson with decision victories against Anderson Silva and Kelvin Gastelum- the latter a strong contender for 2019’s Fight of the Year prize.

The Kiwi, who has had to settle for four fight-night bonuses in his last four fights, has competed six times inside the Octagon since February 2018, compared to Whittaker’s one outing in the same time span.

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 Whittaker fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see Adesanya’s results against the same men.

The two men share two common opponents; Brad Tavares and Derek Brunson.

Both men scored TKO victories over Brunson in the fourth minute of the first round, whilst Adesanya had to settle for a five-round decision win over Tavares- an opponent Whittaker knocked out in 44 seconds.

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 243: Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya checks in with a score of +10.

This score ranks 24th out of all 44 UFC events in the last year, or 11th out of 14 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 falls some way short of the +22.8 average for PPV events, as well as the +11.4 average for all 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 Robert Whittaker (+9), ahead of Israel Adesanya (+6).

The lowest scorer is Tai Tuivasa (-2), whilst seven fighters will be making their promotional debuts on this card.

Enjoy the fights!

Nick Dwyer
About the Author:

Nick Dwyer. Nick is a 28-year-old MMA writer who has been part of #TeamEverlast for 3 years now, contributing weekly 'Dwyer Score' columns as well as statistical analyses and fighter interviews. Follow Nick on Twitter at @NickDwyerMMA.