This Saturday, two of the pound-for-pound most exciting fighters in UFC history will meet in the Octagon, as Edson Barboza (20-6 MMA, 14-6 UFC) takes on former WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje (19-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC).
Let’s take a look at the last three results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
Barboza suffered emphatic back-to-back defeats, against Khabib Nurmagomedov and Kevin Lee, before rebounding with a dominant third-round TKO win over Dan Hooker, who was ranked 14th in the world at the time.
Like Barboza, Gaethje had to rebound from two consecutive violent losses, against Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, and did so successfully with a first-round KO over James Vick last August.
Admittedly, Gaethje’s back-to-back losses were much more competitive affairs than Barboza’s, with both the Alvarez and Poirier fights being nominated for Fight of the Year.
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 Barboza fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see Gaethje’s results against the same men.
The two men share just one common opponent; Michael Johnson.
Barboza dropped a three-round unanimous decision against Johnson in February 2015, whilst Gaethje’s second-round TKO victory over Johnson won many outlet’s 2017 Fight of the Year award.
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 2: Edson Barboza vs. Justin Gaethje posts a score of +7.
This score ranks joint-26th out of 39 events in the last year.
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 +12.5 average for all events in the last twelve months.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributor to the score is Enrique Barzola (+4), ahead of Jack Hermansson, Michael Johnson, Michelle Waterson, Sheymon Moraes and Mark De La Rosa (all +2).
The lowest scorer is Maryna Moroz (-2), whilst three fighters will be making their promotional debuts on this card.
Enjoy the fights!