For the second time this month, Michael Bisping is headlining a UFC event.
7,000 miles away from Madison Square Garden, where he faced Georges St-Pierre in the main event of UFC 217, Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) will take on The Ultimate Fighter 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in Shanghai, China.
Former UFC middleweight champion Bisping stepped in to take this fight on just two weeks’ notice after Gastelum’s original opponent, Anderson Silva, was withdrawn after failing his second USADA drug test.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in our main event this weekend:
Bisping’s title reign began with a first-round KO victory over heavy favorite Luke Rockhold in another short-notice bout last June before he successfully defended the belt in a back-and-forth decision win over a 46-year-old Dan Henderson.
Bisping’s title reign, as well as his longest ever UFC winning streak (5), was ended earlier this month with a third-round submission loss to Georges St-Pierre that capped one of the greatest events in UFC history.
Gastelum followed an impressive third-round win over Tim Kennedy with a dominant first-round TKO of former UFC light-heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort that was later overturned to a No Contest after Gastelum failed a drug test for marijuana.
In his last fight, Gastelum lost via third-round submission to former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman- Gastelum’s first defeat in 10 professional and 4 exhibition contests at middleweight.
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 Bisping fared against any shared opponents, and on the right, you’ll see Gastelum’s results against the same men.
The two men share two common opponents; Vitor Belfort and Tim Kennedy. Bisping is 0-2 against these shared opponents, whilst Gastelum is undefeated against the pair.
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. Normally, I include a graphic here displaying some of the highest-scoring events of all time, but this week the table (above right) displays some of the lowest scores in UFC history.
UFC Fight Night 122: Michael Bisping vs. Kelvin Gastelum checks in with a Dwyer Score of -5.
This score ranks 28th of all 34 events this year and 15th out of the 21 Fight Night events in 2017.
It’s the 8th event to post a negative Dwyer Score in 2017, compared to just 4 in 2016, and it’s the 7th time an event in 2017 has scored lower than 2016’s worst-scoring card; UFC Fight Night: Whittaker-Brunson (-4).
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
This score falls way beneath the average score of +10.8 for all events, as well as the +2.9 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 contributor to the score is Li Jingliang (+3), with Chase Sherman (+2) in second place. The lowest scorer is Kailin Curran (-3), who is 1-5 in the UFC, with Bobby Nash and Rolando Dy (both -2) close behind.
There are 10 fighters making their promotional debuts on this card- that’s more than at any other event in 2017. Michael Bisping, as an individual, represents just 4.2% of all fighters on the card, yet accounts for over 37% of the total combined UFC victories of all 24 fighters. Whilst Bisping has 20 wins from 28 UFC fights, the 23 other fighters hold an average of 1.48 wins from 3 UFC fights.
This card may not contain too many recognizable UFC faces, but it does have its fair share of prospects. Zabit Magomedsharipov, one of the hottest prospects in the promotion today, faces a tough match-up against Sheymon Moraes, whilst Muslim Salikhov enters his fight with Alex Garcia off the back of two spinning-kick KO victories over UFC vets in his last three outings.
Can Gastelum push himself into 185 lbs. title-contention? How is Bisping going to look on such short notice? Can these prospects kick-start their UFC careers with a breakout performance? I’m looking forward to finding out the answers.
Enjoy the fights!