This Saturday, the UFC returns to Florida with a degree of uncertainty surrounding its main event ahead of what could be an eventful weigh-in day.
Despite reports that she’s struggling to make the weight, as things stand the former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk (15-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) will face former Invicta atomweight champion Michelle Waterson (17-6 MMA, 5-2 UFC).
Let’s take a look at the last three results of the two women in Saturday’s main event:
Jędrzejczyk saw her last three bouts go to the judges’ scorecards (as she has in seven of her last eight), securing a three-round verdict over Tecia Torres in between five-round defeats to Rose Namajunas (for the strawweight title) and Valentina Shevchenko (for the flyweight title).
Jędrzejczyk’s loss to Namajunas came in an immediate rematch for the title Jędrzejczyk lost to Namajunas in November 2017. No defeated UFC champion has successfully reclaimed their belt in an immediate rematch since August 2004, and seven have tried.
Waterson has notched three consecutive decision wins against Cortney Casey, Felice Herrig, and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, receiving a split verdict against Casey and unanimous verdicts over Herrig and Kowalkiewicz.
With the main event scheduled for 25 minutes, this could be the first time Waterson sees a fifth-round in her professional MMA career.
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 Jędrzejczyk fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see Waterson’s results against the same women.
The two women share four common opponents; Jessica Penne, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Rose Namajunas, and Tecia Torres.
Jędrzejczyk came up short twice (via TKO and unanimous decision) against Namajunas, who also defeated Waterson via second-round submission.
Jędrzejczyk scored a three-round unanimous decision victory against Torres, whilst Waterson was on the reverse of that result.
Both women scored stoppage victories over Penne as well as unanimous decision victories over Kowalkiewicz.
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 161: Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Michelle Waterson posts a decent score of +12.
This score ranks 21st out of all 44 UFC events in the last year, or 11th out of 25 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 far exceeds the +6.8 average for Fight Night events in the last twelve months, as well as the +10.6 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 Marlon Vera (+4), ahead of Michelle Waterson (+3), Mackenzie Dern, Luis Peña, Ryan Spann, Alex Morono and Andrew Sanchez (all +2).
The lowest scorer is Cub Swanson (-4), whilst Miguel Baeza is the lone fighter making their promotional debut at this event.
Enjoy the fights!