Last July, just 23 days apart, two UFC champions lost the titles they’d held for over a year- each having their 5-fight winning streaks snapped via first-round TKO/KO stoppage.
There are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between the recent careers of Robbie Lawler (28-11 MMA, 13-5 UFC) and Rafael dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC). Even before losing their belts, their previous losses (to Johny Hendricks and Khabib Nurmagomedov, respectively) had came just 35 days apart in 2014.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
Lawler made the second successful defense of his UFC welterweight title against Carlos Condit last January in a close decision that only three of twenty polled media members agreed with. He went on to lose the belt via first-round KO to Tyron Woodley last July, before rebounding with a decision victory over Donald Cerrone a year later.
Lawler won the MMAFighting Fight of the Year award in 2014 (vs. Johny Hendricks), 2015 (vs. Rory MacDonald) and 2016 (vs. Carlos Condit).
Dos Anjos dropped a decision to Tony Ferguson in November last year, before moving up to welterweight and defeating former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine, via decision, then Neil Magny, via submission. The Brazilian has picked up an impressive 5 performance bonuses in his last 8 fights.
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 Lawler fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see dos Anjos’ results against the same men.
The two men share just one common opponent; Donald Cerrone. Lawler edged Cerrone in a tight decision earlier this year, whilst dos Anjos has came out victorious against ‘Cowboy’ on two occasions; via unanimous decision in 2013 and first-round TKO in 2015.
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 26: Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos has a Dwyer Score of +6.
This score ranks joint-21st of 38 events this year, and 4th out of 4 UFC on FOX cards in the same period.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
This score falls short of the +10.5 average for all events in the last twelve months, as well as the +13 average for UFC on FOX events in that same time frame.
That said, it does beat the +2.3 average for Fight Nights and the +4.5 average for all non-PPV events in the last year.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributor to this score is Santiago Ponzinibbio (+5), with Rafael dos Anjos, Ricardo Lamas, Mike Perry and Chad Laprise (all +2) tied for second place.
The lowest scorer is Jordan Mein (-3), with Darren Stewart and Oluwale Bamgbose (both -2) close behind. Two fighters (Julian Marquez and Pietro Menga) will be making their UFC debuts on Saturday night.
There’s a lot to like on this card- the penultimate event this year- with 2 former UFC champions, 3 former title contenders, 2 The Ultimate Fighter winners and a total of 7 fighters who have headlined UFC events in the past.
Enjoy the fights!