This Saturday, in Nashville, Tennessee, Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (14-3-1 MMA, 9-3-1 UFC) takes on former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (21-8 MMA, 8-7 UFC).
Pettis fought at featherweight (145 lbs.) as recently as 2016, whilst Thompson holds a victory over the current UFC middleweight (185 lbs.) champion. A loss for Pettis would, incredibly, see him drop to a .500 UFC record.
Let’s take a look at the last three results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
Thompson suffered a close majority decision defeat in his rematch against Tyron Woodley in March 2017, before returning to the win column with a unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal. ‘Wonderboy’ last fought in May 2017, suffering another controversial defeat, in Liverpool, to hometown favorite Darren Till.
With Tyron Woodley having recently lost the championship, Thompson’s route back to a title shot has returned to focus. An impressive performance on Saturday could kick-start a return to title contention.
Pettis rebounded from a third-round TKO loss against Dustin Poirier in November 2017 with a second-round submission win over Michael Chiesa last year. ‘Showtime’ then faced Tony Ferguson, losing via TKO after the second round in one of the best fights of 2018. Pettis has earned a fight night bonus in each of his last three fights.
Pettis is the only fighter in UFC history to face two opponents that were aiming to record their tenth (or more) consecutive UFC victory- Max Holloway and Tony Ferguson.
Thompson and Pettis 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 Fight Night events of all time, to help give some context to this score.
UFC Fight Night 148: Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis posts a strong score of +18. This is the third consecutive event to post this score.
This score ranks joint-12th out of 39 events in the past year and joint-4th out of 23 Fight Nights in the same time frame.
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 +8 average for Fight Night events in the last twelve months, as well as the +12.4 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 Justin Willis and Deiveson Figueiredo (both +4), with Jussier Formiga and JJ Aldrich (both +3) close behind.
Stephen Thompson, Anthony Pettis, Curtis Blaydes, Luis Peña, Alexis Davis, Jennifer Maia, Angela Hill and Chris Gutierrez (all -1) share the honors for lowest-scorer, whilst two fighters are making their promotional debuts on this card.
Enjoy the fights!