The Dwyer Score- UFC Fight Night: Al Iaquinta vs. Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone

This Saturday, the man the most wins in UFC history steps into the Octagon looking to extend his all-time record.

Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone (35-11 MMA, 22-8 UFC) is looking to kickstart one last title run against ‘Raging’ Al Iaquinta (14-4-1 MMA, 9-3 UFC) in Ottawa, Canada.

Despite an 18-fight disparity in their number of UFC outings, Cerrone’s UFC debut came just 16 months prior to Iaquinta’s.

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

Iaquinta returned from a two-year lay-off to defeat Diego Sanchez via first-round KO in April 2017. Nearly a year later, Iaquinta found himself, somewhat unexpectedly, in a title-fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov where he came up short in a five-round unanimous decision.

Having just 24 hours’ notice for the Khabib fight, Iaquinta’s losing performance was praised by fans and media alike. Iaquinta then returned to action in December, winning a clear five-round unanimous decision in a rematch against Kevin Lee.

Cowboy’s last three fights came in a much shorter timespan than Iaquinta’s, rebounding from a unanimous decision defeat to Leon Edwards with consecutive stoppage victories over Mike Perry and Alexander Hernandez.

As well as holding the most victories in UFC history, Cerrone’s two performance bonuses for his win over Hernandez mean that he also leads the way with the most fight night bonuses in UFC history.

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

The two men share one common opponent; Jorge Masvidal.

Iaquinta defeated Masvidal in a controversial split-decision back in April 2015, with 13 out of 15 polled media members giving the nod to Masvidal, whilst Cowboy suffered an emphatic second-round TKO loss against Masvidal in January 2017.

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 Fight Night 151: Al Iaquinta vs. Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone checks in with a score of 0.

This score ranks joint-36th out of 41 events in the last year and joint-21st out of 25 Fight Nights 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 falls some way short of the +12.4 average for all events in the last year, as well as the +8 average strictly for Fight Night events in the same period.

Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:

The highest individual contributor to the score is Elias Theodorou (+3), with Donald Cerrone, Brad Katona and Macy Chiasson (all +2) close behind.

The lowest scorer is Cub Swanson (-3), just ahead of Derek Brunson, Sarah Moras, Nordine Taleb and Mitch Gagnon (all -2). Four fighters are 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.