The first few months of 2017 have been relatively underwhelming in terms of UFC action, but that lackluster spell is well and truly over, as UFC 211 has put together one of the greatest lineups of any card in MMA history.
With no fewer than 5 current or former UFC champions on display this Saturday night in Dallas, we are looking at the strongest card of 2017 by far, and the biggest event since the historic UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden last November.
In the main event, reigning UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic puts his title on the line against former champ Junior dos Santos in a rematch of their December 2014 bout; one of the most exciting fights in UFC heavyweight history.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Saturday’s main event:
Stipe Miocic’s 2016 couldn’t have gone much better. He went 3-0, winning each fight by TKO/KO stoppage in the very first round, winning 3 fight night bonuses and picking up the UFC heavyweight title along the way. Junior dos Santos hasn’t been quite so active, fighting just twice since defeating Miocic in 2014, losing to Alistair Overeem before rebounding with a dominant decision win over Ben Rothwell.
Having spent 25 minutes in the Octagon together already, Miocic and dos Santos are very familiar with one another, but they’re also equally familiar with a handful of others. Let’s take a look at the shared opponents these two have in common, and how they fared against those foes:
On the left of the graphic (see right), you’ll see how Miocic fared against these opponents, and on the right, you’ll see dos Santos’ results against the same men.
Both men went 5-1 against their shared opponents, with Roy Nelson the only man to make it to a judges’ decision against both Miocic and dos Santos.
That’s not the only title on the line on Saturday, however, as undefeated strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk will look to make the fifth successful defense of her title against Brazilian contender Jéssica Andrade.
Of the reigning UFC champions, only Demetrious Johnson boasts more successful title defenses than Jędrzejczyk, who will be fighting for the third time in 10 months. Her opponent on Saturday, Andrade, is 3-0 since making the drop to strawweight last year following a 4-3 spell as a UFC bantamweight.
Here’s a look at the recent results of the two women in Saturday’s co-main event:
Both women come into the event with 100% records from their last three fights, in what could be one of the toughest tests of Jędrzejczyk’s title reign. Jędrzejczyk has spent a total of 75 minutes inside the Octagon in her last 3 fights, and 62% of her career bouts have gone to the judges’ scorecards, compared to just 24% of Andrade’s.
Here’s a look at the common opponents shared by Jędrzejczyk and Andrade (see right):
Both women have a TKO victory over Jessica Penne on their records, as well as wins over Rosi Sexton. Andrade defeated Sexton via unanimous decision, whilst Jędrzejczyk won via KO.
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. No Contests, Draws, or bouts with other promotions set your streak to 0. When you tally up the scores for every fighter on a card (only counting UFC fights), you get a total which gives you an idea of the combined momentum of fighters heading into a specific event. Here is a table (see right) that lists some of the top scoring events of all time, to help give some context to these scores.
UFC 211 comes in with a massive Dwyer Score of +45. It’s the highest score of 2017 by far, and only three events have scored higher than this in UFC’s 24-year history, placing UFC 211 in the top 1.1% of the 397 events since 1993.
This score reflects the high quality of this card on paper, a card which contains several fighters riding significant waves of momentum.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
This score is over twice the average for PPV events over the last year and almost 4 times the average for all events.
It’s a massive, historic score that may not be beaten for the rest of 2017 at least.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributor to this week’s score is Joanna Jędrzejczyk (+7), with Demian Maia and Yair Rodríguez nipping at her heels (both +6), and Krzysztof Jotko (+5) close behind them. The lowest individual scorer at UFC 211 is Chase Sherman (-2).
Maia’s bout with Jorge Masvidal is probably the best fight booked at welterweight at the moment, with both fighters coming off huge wins over Carlos Condit and Donald Cerrone respectively. The winner of this fight will surely be next in line for a shot at Tyron Woodley’s belt.
Rising prospect Yair Rodríguez takes on former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar in what is undoubtedly the biggest test of the young Mexican’s career, whilst another former 155 lbs champion, Eddie Alvarez, looks to rebound from his loss to Conor McGregor against Dustin Poirier. James Vick, Chas Skelly, Jason Knight, Yair Rodriguez and Jorge Masvidal all have the opportunity to become the first male fighter to record two UFC victories in 2017.
We may have lost Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis, which was a fantastic fight, but there’s still so much to love on UFC 211. This is a fantastic card, and I can’t wait for it to get started.