Last October, Sergio Pettis had been scheduled to fight Louis Smolka, who was riding a four-fight winning streak at the time, when a minor injury forced him to withdraw from the bout.
Promotional newcomer Brandon Moreno, fresh off a defeat in The Ultimate Fighter house where he’d been the 16th seed in a field of 16, stepped up to replace the injured Pettis and take on Smolka on less than 10 days’ notice.
Not many gave Moreno, a 5-1 underdog with the bookies, much chance of stopping Smolka’s winning run but that’s exactly what he did, scoring a first-round submission victory which remains the only stoppage loss of Smolka’s career.
On Saturday, Moreno (14-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC) takes on Pettis (15-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), the man whose injury helped springboard Moreno’s UFC career.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
Pettis has won three consecutive bouts against Chris Cariaso, Chris Kelades and John Moraga, each victory coming via unanimous decision. In fact, all 6 of Pettis’ UFC wins have been unanimous decision victories.
Moreno followed the aforementioned win over Smolka with a decision victory against Ryan Benoit and a submission win over Dustin Ortiz. Moreno reached 3 UFC victories in just over 6 months, an average of one UFC win every 68 days.
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 Pettis fared against any shared opponents, and on the right, you’ll see Moreno’s results against the same men.
Both men share just one common opponent throughout their careers; Ryan Benoit. Pettis lost that fight via TKO in a bout he had been winning handily until that point, whereas Moreno defeated Benoit by split-decision last December.
The Dwyer Score
Each event I calculate a ‘Dwyer Score’ for the card. It’s a simple way of giving a numeric value to the momentum of 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 right displays some of the highest-scoring events of all time, to help give some context to this score.
UFC Fight Night 114: Pettis vs. Moreno has a Dwyer Score of +3. This ranks joint-18th of 23 events in 2017 and 8th of the 12 Fight Night cards in the same timeframe.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
This score is some way below the +11.8 average for all events, and slightly beneath the +5 average for Fight Night events.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributors to this card are the two men competing in the main event; Sergio Pettis and Brandon Moreno (both +3), ahead of Hector Sandoval, Jose Alberto Quinonez and Diego Rivas (all +2).
The lowest individual scorer is former UFC light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (-3), with Henry Briones (-2) just behind.
After a hectic spell that saw 6 UFC events in less than a month, there will be a break from UFC action until September following Saturday’s card.