This weekend, the UFC returns to Adelaide for just the second time in promotional history with a headlining fight that could determine the next contender for the UFC heavyweight championship.
In the main event, Tai Tuivasa (8-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) looks to make it back-to-back victories over former UFC heavyweight champions when he takes on Junior dos Santos (19-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC).
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in the main event:
Dos Santos scored a wide decision victory over Ben Rothwell in a five-round affair in April 2016 before being granted a shot at the UFC heavyweight championship for the third time in his career. Unfortunately for JDS, he lost to Stipe Miocic- the reigning UFC champion at the time- in an emphatic first-round TKO last May.
The Brazilian, who will be fighting twice in a calendar year for the first time since 2013, returned to action with a five-round unanimous decision win over Blagoy Ivanov in July.
Tuivasa has competed three times in the UFC thus far, scoring back-to-back first-round TKO/KO stoppages against Rashad Coulter and Cyril Asker before a unanimous decision win over Andrei Arlovski.
Until the Arlovski fight, Tuivasa had finished all of his professional MMA bouts by TKO/KO stoppage in the very first round and at just 25 years old he is the youngest ranked UFC heavyweight by some distance.
Dos Santos and Tuivasa share no common opponents throughout their professional MMA careers.
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 Oceanian events of all time, to help give some context to this score.
UFC Fight Night 142: Junior dos Santos vs. Tai Tuivasa posts a score of +1.
This score ranks joint-29th out of 36 events this year and joint-15th out of 19 Fight Night events.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
As you can see, this score falls short of the +5.4 average for Fight Night events over the last twelve months, as well as the +10.8 average for all events in the same period.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributors to the score are Tai Tuivasa, Justin Willis and Jake Matthews (all +3), just ahead of Tony Martin (+2).
The lowest scorer is Wilson Reis (-3), with Mark Hunt and Mizuto Hirota (both -2) close behind. Six fighters will be making their promotional debuts at this event.
Enjoy the fights!