The Dwyer Score- UFC Fight Night: Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje

On Saturday, we’ll be treated to a main event contested between two of the most fan-friendly styles in MMA history.

Donald Cerrone (36-12 MMA, 23-9 UFC), ranked fourth in the UFC lightweight division, takes on number five, the former WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje (20-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC).

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

Cerrone has already fought three times in 2019- a TKO victory over Alexander Hernandez, a five-round unanimous decision win over Al Iaquinta and a second-round TKO loss to Tony Ferguson.

All three of Cerrone’s aforementioned fights won their event’s Fight of the Night award.

Gaethje rebounded from a fourth-round TKO loss to Dustin Poirier last April with back-to-back first-round KO wins against James Vick and Edson Barboza.

Incredibly, Gaethje has won six performance bonuses (four Fight of the Nights and two Performance of the Nights) in just five UFC fights.

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

The two men share three common opponents; Melvin Guillard, Edson Barboza, and Eddie Alvarez.

Cerrone scored a first-round KO over Guillard- an opponent Gaethje had to settle for a split-decision win against- whilst both men scored first-round stoppages over Barboza.

Gaethje suffered a third-round KO loss against Alvarez- the first defeat of his professional career- whilst Cerrone notched a unanimous decision win over the former UFC lightweight champion.

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 158: Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje posts a score of +1.

This score ranks 32nd out of 43 UFC events in the past year, and 15th out of 24 Fight Night 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 +12.4 average for all events in the last twelve months, as well as the +8.3 average for Fight Night events in the same time frame.

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

The highest individual contributors to the score are Justin Gaethje, Glover Teixeira, Jimmy Crute, Augusto Sakai and Andrew Sanchez (all +2).

The lowest scorer is Chas Skelly (-2), whilst three fighters will be making their promotional debuts at this event.

Enjoy the fights!

Nick Dwyer
About the Author:

Nick Dwyer. Nick is a 27-year-old MMA writer who has been part of #TeamEverlast for 2 years now, contributing weekly 'Dwyer Score' columns as well as statistical analyses and fighter interviews. Follow Nick on Twitter at @NickDwyerMMA.