If you asked me to compile a list of the most consistently entertaining fighters in UFC history, Dustin Poirier, Anthony Pettis, Matt Brown and Diego Sanchez may all appear in the top ten.
So we should be in for a treat this Saturday as Poirier (21-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) takes on Pettis (20-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC) in the main event, with Brown (20-16 MMA, 13-10 UFC) facing Sanchez (27-10 MMA, 16-10 UFC) in the co-main.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
Poirier rebounded from a first-round KO defeat to Michael Johnson- to date Poirier’s only UFC defeat at lightweight, with a majority decision win over Jim Miller that won the Fight of the Night bonus in February this year.
Poirier’s next fight, against Eddie Alvarez, looked on course to claiming another Fight of the Night bonus, until it was controversially halted and ruled a No Contest after judge Herb Dean ruled that the illegal knees Alvarez landed to a downed Poirier’s head were unintentional.
Former UFC lightweight champion Pettis marked his featherweight debut with a submission win over Charles Oliveira before losing to Max Holloway via third-round TKO. Pettis returned to lightweight earlier this year with a unanimous decision victory over Jim Miller.
Pettis may only have 2 victories in his last 6 fights, but he is routinely fighting elite competition- Pettis has faced 4 current or former UFC champions in his last 8 bouts.
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 Poirier fared against any shared opponents, and on the right, you’ll see Pettis’ results against the same men.
The two share four common opponents throughout their careers. Danny Castillo lost via first-round KO to Pettis back in 2010 before earning a unanimous decision win over Poirier in his next fight. A 20-year old Max Holloway lost to Poirier via submission to a mounted triangle armbar in 2012, but today’s UFC featherweight champion did score a TKO victory over Pettis last year. Eddie Alvarez won a split-decision against Pettis last year in a far less eventful bout than his aforementioned No Contest with Poirier in May, whilst Jim Miller suffered decision defeats to both Pettis and Poirier this year.
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. A fighter coming off a No Contest, a draw, or a bout with another promotion has a streak of 0, and only UFC results are considered. 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 120: Dustin Poirier vs. Anthony Pettis comes in with a Dwyer Score of -8. This ranks in 28th place of all 32 events this year, or 15th out of the 19 Fight Nights in 2017.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
This score falls far below the +12.8 average for all events over the last 12 months, as well as the +5 average for Fight Nights in that same period.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributors to this week’s score are Raphael Assunção, Matthew Lopez and Viviane Pereira (all +2), whilst Karl Roberson is the lone UFC debutant this week.
The lowest individual scorer is Andrei Arlovski (-5), who would make unwanted UFC history if he falls to a 6th consecutive defeat on Saturday. Matt Brown (-3) is another fighter on somewhat of a skid, having won 1 of his last 6 fights, and has announced he’ll be retiring after his bout with Diego Sanchez.
We’ve got 2 former UFC champions, 3 former title contenders, 5 The Ultimate Fighter Winners and a total of 10 fighters who have headlined UFC events in the past. Some fighters on display may not be in the best form of their careers, but this is still a great Fight Night event.