This Saturday, Dustin Poirier (22-5 MMA, 14-4 UFC) takes on Justin Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) in what, stylistically speaking, promises to be one of the most exciting bouts of 2018 thus far.
Poirier, with just one loss in his past 8 fights, is arguably in the best form of his career at the moment whilst Gaethje, in his short time with the promotion, has quickly established himself as one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC today.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
Poirier followed a majority decision victory over Jim Miller last February with a no-contest against Eddie Alvarez in May. The bout with Alvarez was controversially halted after judge Herb Dean ruled that the illegal knees Alvarez landed to a downed Poirier’s head were unintentional.
‘The Diamond’ rebounded with a third-round TKO victory over former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis after an injury to Pettis’ rib meant he could no longer continue.
Both the Miller and Pettis fights received their event’s Fight of the Night award, whilst the Alvarez fight likely would have too if it hadn’t been stopped before the end of the second round.
In December 2016, Gaethje successfully defended his WSOF lightweight title for the fifth time with a TKO victory over Luiz Firmino. After joining the UFC, Gaethje defeated Michael Johnson via second-round TKO before suffering a loss to former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
An action-packed first year with the promotion saw each of Gaethje’s first two UFC fights win not only their Fight of the Night awards, but also nominations for 2017’s Fight of the Year prize.
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 Poirier fared against any shared opponents, and on the right, you’ll see Gaethje’s results against the same men.
The two men share two common opponents; Michael Johnson and Eddie Alvarez.
Poirier suffered a first-round KO defeat to Johnson in September 2016, 6 months before his bout with Alvarez. Poirier appeared to have Alvarez in real trouble early in the second round of their fight, before ultimately the bout was stopped and ruled a no-contest.
Gaethje went 1-1 in his aforementioned meetings with Johnson and Alvarez- arguably the two best fights of 2017. Gaethje’s loss to Alvarez, via third-round KO in December, was the first defeat in his 19-fight professional MMA career.
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. 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 above-right displays some of the highest-scoring events of all time, to help give some context to this score.
UFC on FOX 29: Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje checks in with a score of -1.
This score ranks joint-33rd of 41 events in the last year and 6th out of 6 UFC on FOX events in that same period.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
Aside from the averages shown in the graph above, this score also falls beneath the +13 average for UFC on FOX events in the last year as well as the +3.9 average for all non-PPV events 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 Antônio Carlos Júnior (+4), just ahead of Brad Tavares (+3), John Moraga and Alejandro Pérez (both +2).
The lowest individual scorer is Carlos Condit (-3), with Michelle Waterson, Wilson Reis, Krzysztof Jotko and Luke Sanders (all -2) close behind.
Enjoy the fights!