The UFC makes its return to Madison Square Garden this Saturday with three title fights and one of the greatest cards it has ever put together.
And, as you might imagine from such a big event, it posts one of the largest Dwyer Scores of all time.
First off, let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event, where UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) takes on Georges St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC):
Bisping, who is currently riding the longest winning streak of his UFC career, sandwiched his title-winning first-round KO of Luke Rockhold between two fight of the year contenders against Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson last year. Including St-Pierre, Bisping’s last four opponents have held; 12 UFC middleweight titles, 11 UFC welterweight titles, 3 Strikeforce middleweight titles, a Strikeforce light-heavyweight title, a PRIDE middleweight title and a PRIDE welterweight title.
St-Pierre will be competing for the first time in just under four years and at middleweight for the first time in his career. He followed clear decision wins over Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz with a controversial decision victory over Johny Hendricks that 16 out of 16 polled media members scored for Hendricks. St-Pierre holds the UFC welterweight record for most wins, most takedowns, longest title reign and most significant strikes landed, and is currently in second-place in the list of all-time UFC victories on 19, behind Bisping himself on 20.
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 Bisping fared against any shared opponents, and on the right, you’ll see St-Pierre’s results against the same men.
As you may expect of two fighters who, thus far in their careers, have competed in divisions either 15 lbs. or 35 lbs. apart from one another, there’s not a huge number of shared opponents. Only Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller has competed against both Bisping and St-Pierre, losing to Bisping via a third-round TKO in 2011 and dropping a unanimous decision to St-Pierre all the way back in 2005.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Saturday’s co-main event, where bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) faces T.J. Dillashaw (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC):
Garbrandt went 4-0 in 2016, including a first-round KO stoppage of the previously undefeated Thomas Almeida, a 48-second TKO win over Takeya Mizugaki and a dominant title-winning victory over arguably the greatest bantamweight in MMA history, Dominick Cruz.
Dillashaw, Garbrandt’s former training partner turned bitter rival, lost the UFC bantamweight title in a split decision defeat to Cruz in January last year, before rebounding with impressive decision wins over top-ranked Brazilian bantamweights Raphael Assunção and John Lineker.
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 Garbrandt fared against any shared opponents, and on the right, you’ll see Dillashaw’s results against the same men.
The two men share just one common opponent; the aforementioned Dominick Cruz. Both men fought Cruz in 2016, with Garbrandt knocking down Cruz on multiple occasions en route to claiming the belt, the same belt Dillashaw lost to Cruz earlier that year in a tight decision that 10 of 23 polled media members scored for Dillashaw.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two women in Saturday’s third title fight, where women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) defends against Rose Namajunas (6-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC):
Jędrzejczyk holds the record for the greatest strike differential (strikes landed against strikes absorbed) in UFC history, as evidenced in her lopsided decision wins over Gadelha, Kowalkiewicz and Andrade, which appear at 4th, 2nd and 1st, respectively, in the list of greatest strike differentials UFC championship history. Just for the record, 3rd place in that same list is Jędrzejczyk’s victory over Valérie Létourneau in November 2015.
Namajunas has won four of her last five fights and, after going 1-1 in tight decisions against Tecia Torres then Karolina Kowalkiewicz, put in one of the most impressive performances of her young career with a second-round submission over Michelle Waterson earlier this year.
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 Jędrzejczyk fared against any shared opponents, and on the right, you’ll see Namajunas’ results against the same women.
The two women experienced contrasting fortunes when competing against their common foes. A 22-year-old Namajunas suffered a third-round submission loss to Carla Esparza back in 2014 when vying for the inaugural UFC strawweight title, as well as a close split-decision defeat in a title-elimination bout with Karolina Kowalkiewicz last year.
Jędrzejczyk, on the other hand, ended Esparza’s 92-day title reign- the shortest title reign in UFC history, with a dominant second-round TKO and earned a clear decision win over Kowalkiewicz at the UFC’s last event at Madison Square Garden in November last year.
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 217: Bisping vs. St-Pierre posts a huge Dwyer Score of +46. It’s tied with UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor (coincidentally, last year’s Madison Square Garden event) as the third-highest scoring event in UFC’s 24-year and 416-event history and, unsurprisingly, it’s the highest scoring of all 31 events this year.
Next month’s event; UFC 218: Holloway vs. Edgar, has a score of +44 at the time of writing, so we should be in for a great end to the 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 Pay-Per-View event average of +22.7, let alone the +12 average for all events, in the last year.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributor is Georges St-Pierre (+12), with Joanna Jędrzejczyk (+8) in second place and Cody Garbrandt (+6) in third.
This week’s lowest contributors are Stephen Thompson, Jorge Masvidal, Johny Hendricks, Walt Harris, Corey Anderson and Randy Brown (all -1), whilst Michał Oleksiejczuk is the lone UFC debutant this weekend.
This card has 3 current champions, 3 former champions, 3 former title contenders and a total of 11 fighters who have headlined UFC events in the past. It’s an exceptional card filled with great fights and I can’t wait for things to get underway.