This Saturday, the UFC returns to Newark, New Jersey, with a headlining bout that could determine the next title contender at welterweight.
In the main event, former interim UFC welterweight champion Colby Covington (14-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) takes on former undisputed UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (28-13 MMA, 13-7 UFC).
Dana White has said that a win for Covington will see him given the next shot at Kamaru Usman’s welterweight title.
Let’s take a look at the last three results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
Covington has won his last three fights, against Dong Hyun Kim, Demian Maia, and former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, via unanimous decision. Covington, who saw his interim UFC welterweight title stripped last September, has not fought since June 2018.
After going to the judges’ scorecards just once in his first six UFC fights, Colby has now seen his last four fights go the distance.
Lawler followed a unanimous decision victory over Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone’ with a unanimous decision defeat against Rafael dos Anjos. Fourteen months later, Lawler returned to action in a controversial first-round submission loss against Ben Askren.
Currently riding a two-fight losing streak, Lawler has never lost three consecutive bouts in his 42-fight professional MMA career.
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 Covington fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see Lawler’s results against the same men.
The two men share just one common opponent; Rafael dos Anjos.
Last June, Covington defeated Dos Anjos in a five-round unanimous decision that saw him claim the interim UFC welterweight title, whilst Lawler was on the wrong end of a five-round unanimous decision verdict against the Brazilian in December 2017.
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 events of all time, to help give some context to this score.
UFC on ESPN 5: Colby Covington vs. Robbie Lawler checks in with a score of +4.
This score ranks joint-28th out of all 41 UFC events in the past year, and 4th out of all 5 UFC on ESPN events thus far.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
As you can see, this score falls some way short of the +11.8 average for all events in the last twelve months, as well as the +7 average for UFC on ESPN events (not pictured) 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 Colby Covington (+6), ahead of Cláudio Silva (+4) and Matt Schnell (+3).
The lowest scorers are Robbie Lawler, Gerald Meerschaert, Salim Touahri and Lucie Pudilova (all -2), whilst three fighters will be making their promotional debuts on Saturday.
Enjoy the fights!