This Saturday, the UFC returns to Mexico for the first time in over two years.
In an important clash at 145 lbs., the number 7 UFC featherweight Yair Rodríguez (11-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) takes on the number 8, Jeremy Stephens (28-16 MMA, 15-15 UFC).
Let’s take a look at the last three results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
Rodríguez scored a second-round TKO victory over former UFC welterweight and lightweight champion B.J. Penn back in January 2017, before suffering the first defeat of his UFC career in a second-round TKO loss to Frankie Edgar.
Yair’s last outing came last November, with a fight that culminated in what will likely be the most spectacular ending to a fight the UFC will ever see, with Rodríguez scoring the first overhead elbow KO in promotional history at 4:59 of the fifth round, just one second away from a decision defeat.
Stephens followed a second-round KO win over Josh Emmett with back-to-back defeats against José Aldo and Zabit Magomedsharipov. Stephens has been much more active than Yair as of late and has fought five times since May 2017, compared to Rodríguez’s one.
Stephens holds the unwanted record for the most defeats in UFC history (15).
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 Rodriguez fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see Stephens’ results against the same men.
The two men share just one common opponent; Frankie Edgar.
Both men suffered defeats against the former UFC lightweight champion, Rodríguez suffering an emphatic second-round TKO in May 2017 and Stephens finding himself on the wrong end of a unanimous decision verdict in November 2016.
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 lowest-scoring events of all time, to help give some context to this score.
UFC Fight Night 159: Yair Rodríguez vs. Jeremy Stephens posts an extremely low score of -19.
This score ranks 42nd out of all 43 UFC events in the last year and 493rd out of 494 events in promotional history.
Only UFC Fight Night: Volkan vs. Smith has ever posted a lower score.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
As you can see, this score falls well short of the +12 average for all events in the last twelve months, as well as the +7.7 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 contributors to the score are Yair Rodríguez, Carla Esparza and Alexa Grasso (all +1).
The lowest scorers are Jeremy Stephens, Martin Bravo, Stephen Peterson, Polo Reyes, Kyle Nelson, Sergio Pettis, Vinicius Moreira and Bethe Correia (all -2), whilst four fighters will be making their promotional debuts on this card.
Enjoy the fights!