Only three times in UFC history has a former champion lost four consecutive UFC bouts. If Chris Weidman wants to avoid joining Frank Mir, Andrei Arlovski and B.J. Penn on that list, he’ll have to come out victorious against Kelvin Gastelum on Saturday night.
Former UFC middleweight champion Weidman (13-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) was once viewed as the most dominant force at 185 lbs, becoming the first man to defeat Anderson Silva in over seven years (then doing so again in a rematch), as well as notching wins over the likes of Demian Maia, Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort.
The Ultimate Fighter 17 winner Gastelum (13-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) is coming off what was originally a first-round TKO win over Vitor Belfort in March. Unfortunately for Gastelum, that win was overturned to a No Contest after he tested positive for marijuana.
Let’s take a look at the last three results of the two men competing in Saturday night’s main event:
All three of Weidman’s career defeats have come in his last three bouts. On each occasion, whether it was the accumulation of punishing mounted strikes from Luke Rockhold, the explosive flying knee from Yoel Romero, or the controversial yet ultimately legal knees to the head from Gegard Mousasi, Weidman has been on the receiving end of some significant damage.
Gastelum’s recent performances have been far better, with the 25-year-old following a decision win over former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks with a TKO victory over career-middleweight Tim Kennedy, before the aforementioned bittersweet bout with Belfort.
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 Weidman fared against any shared opponents, and on the right, you’ll see Gastelum’s results against the same men.
The two men share two common opponents; Vitor Belfort and Uriah Hall. Both men finished the Brazilian former light-heavyweight champion by TKO inside a round (though of course one of those wins was later deemed a No Contest), whilst Gastelum had to settle for a split-decision win over Uriah Hall, another man Weidman finished in the first round.
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 on FOX 25: Chris Weidman vs. Kelvin Gastelum has a strong Dwyer Score of +15. This ranks in 8th place of the 21 events in 2017 and 2nd among this year’s 3 UFC on FOX events.
This is actually the highest-scoring non-PPV card we’ve seen since April.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
As you can see, it’s well above the +10.9 average for all events in the last year. It also beats the +11 average for UFC on FOX cards in the same period.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributors to this card are Darren Elkins and Jimmie Rivera (both +4), with Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, Ryan LaFlare, Jeremy Kennedy, Marlon Vera and Shane Burgos tied for second place (all +2). The lowest scorer this week is Chris Weidman (-3), with Rafael Natal, Damian Grabowski and Chris Wade (all -2) close behind.
Fans will be happy to see fighters like Darren Elkins, Brian Kelleher, Shane Burgos and Marlon Vera (to name a few) look to build on memorable wins earlier in the year.
It is hard not to get distracted by the fantastic line-up UFC 214 has in store for us next week (it currently has a Dwyer Score of +37, the 8th highest score in UFC history), but this is a great card with plenty of local talent on display that will more than suffice as we wait.
Enjoy the fights!