2017 is drawing to a close, but there’s still time for one last UFC event before the end of the year and, as is often the case with these end-of-year events, they’ve made it a good one.
UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) will look to defend her title for the first time against former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC).
A win on Saturday for Holm would see her join Randy Couture, B.J. Penn, Conor McGregor and Georges St-Pierre in the list of fighters who have held UFC gold in more than one weight class.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two women in Saturday night’s main event:
Cyborg has now fought three times in UFC competition, winning all three bouts via TKO against Leslie Smith, Lina Länsberg and Tonya Evinger in the first, second and third rounds, respectively.
She has not lost an MMA bout since her debut in 2005 and has defeated every opponent she’s met since 2008 via TKO/KO stoppage. Cyborg would record the first successful defense of the UFC women’s featherweight title, introduced earlier this year, with a win this weekend.
Holm rebounded from decision losses to Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie- part of a three-fight losing skid, with a spectacular third-round KO in an otherwise uneventful fight against Bethe Correia in June.
Holm fought for the belt which Cyborg now holds when it was originally introduced in February, coming up short in a close, controversial bout against de Randamie that 14/23 polled media members scored for Holm. De Randamie was then stripped of the belt in June after refusing to defend against Cyborg, who in turn claimed the vacant strap with that aforementioned win over Evinger.
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 Cyborg fared against any shared opponents, and on the right, you’ll see Holm’s results against the same women.
The two share just one common opponent; Jan Finney. Cyborg defeated Finney via second-round TKO to defend the Strikeforce women’s featherweight title in 2010, whilst Holm defeated Finney with a third-round TKO a little over a year later.
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 219: Cyborg vs. Holm closes out the year with a strong Dwyer Score of +22. This score ranks 8th out of 39 events in 2017, and 6th out of 12 Pay-Per-View events this year.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
As you can see, this score far exceeds the average of +10.4 for all events in the last year, though it falls just short of the +23.8 average for strictly Pay-Per-View 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 Khabib Nurmagomedov (+8), with Cris Cyborg, Edson Barboza and Cynthia Calvillo (all +3) tied for second place. If Calvillo were to win on Saturday, she would become the only fighter to record 4 UFC victories in 2017.
Louis Smolka (-3) is the lowest individual scorer on the card, just ahead of Carlos Condit (-2). Michał Oleksiejczuk and Mark De La Rosa are the two fighters who will be making their UFC debuts on this card.
It’s a great line-up and a fitting way to end the year. Enjoy the fights and all the best for 2018.