This Saturday, the UFC returns to Stockholm, Sweden, where the last two challengers for the UFC light-heavyweight championship will clash in the main event.
Three-time title challenger Alexander Gustafsson (18-5 MMA, 10-5 UFC) takes on Anthony Smith (31-14 MMA, 7-4 UFC), with both men knowing a defeat would put them a long way off another title shot.
Let’s take a look at the last three results of the two men in Saturday’s main event:
Gustafsson notched a three-round unanimous decision victory over Jan Błachowicz back in September 2016 before recording an impressive fifth-round KO over Glover Teixeira the following May. The Swede returned to action last December, losing via third-round TKO against Jon Jones.
Gustafsson has only fought more than once in a calendar year on one occasion (2015) since 2012.
Smith followed a 90-second KO over Maurício Rua with a third-round submission against Volkan Oezdemir in a breakthrough 2018 at light-heavyweight. Like Gustafsson, Smith came up short in his title challenge against Jon Jones, suffering a clear unanimous decision defeat in March.
This will be Smith’s sixth UFC fight since February 2018, having earned $734,000 in disclosed payouts in that period.
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 Gustafsson fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see Smith’s results against the same men.
The two men share two common opponents; Jon Jones and Maurício Rua.
Gustafsson has fought Jones twice, losing a close decision in 2013 before suffering a TKO loss last year, whilst Smith found himself on the wrong end of a unanimous decision defeat in March.
Gustafsson had to settle for a decision victory over ‘Shogun’ Rua back in 2012, whilst Smith notched a first-round KO against the former UFC light-heavyweight champion Rua.
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 lowest-scoring events of all time, to help give some context to this score.
UFC Fight Night 153: Alexander Gustafsson vs. Anthony Smith posts a low score of -7.
This score ranks 40th out of all 41 events in the last year.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
As you can see, this score falls well short of the +7.8 average for Fight Night events in the last twelve months.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributor to the score is Leonardo Santos (+4), who will be competing for the first time since 2016, with Aleksander Rakić (+3) and Damir Hadžović (+2) close behind.
The lowest scorers are Volkan Oezdemir, Jimi Manuwa and Daniel Teymur (all -3), whilst six fighters will be making their promotional debuts on this card.
Enjoy the fights!