This Saturday, two title fights (both rematches) headline UFC 227 in Los Angeles, California.
In the main event, UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) takes on Cody Garbrandt (11-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC).
This will be the 8th time in UFC history a defeated UFC champion has been granted an immediate rematch after losing their title. Thus far, defeated UFC champions are 1-6 in these immediate rematches, with no one finding success since Randy Couture at UFC 49 (Aug 2004). Andrei Arlovski, B.J. Penn, Frankie Edgar, Anderson Silva, José Aldo + Joanna Jędrzejczyk are a combined 0-6 since then.
Garbrandt will be the only defeated champion in UFC history to receive an immediate rematch for the belt without any prior successful UFC title defenses on their record.
In the co-main event, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC)- the most dominant champion in UFC history- will put his title on the line against Henry Cejudo (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) in a rematch of their April 2016 bout.
A win for Johnson would extend his current winning streak to 14 fights, just two short of Anderson Silva’s all-time UFC record of 16 consecutive victories.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
After dominant performances in unanimous decision victories over Raphael Assunção and John Lineker, Dillashaw was rewarded with a shot at the undefeated Cody Garbrandt’s UFC bantamweight title. Dillashaw came out on top of a thrilling back-and-forth fight that saw both men dropped to the canvas, scoring a second-round KO victory to begin the second title reign of his UFC career.
Garbrandt followed a 48-second TKO win over Takeya Mizugaki with a dominant title-winning victory over one of the greatest bantamweights in MMA history- Dominick Cruz. Despite losing the belt to Dillashaw last November, Garbrandt will take confidence in knowing he had Dillashaw reeling at the very end of round one.
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 Dillashaw fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see Garbrandt’s results against the same men.
The two men share just one common opponent; the two-time former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
Both men fought Cruz in 2016, with Cruz coming out on top in a tight decision against Dillashaw (10 of 23 polled media members scored the fight for Dillashaw) to claim the belt- the same belt Garbrandt won from Cruz later that year, knocking Cruz down on multiple occasions en route to a unanimous decision win.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Saturday night’s co-main event:
In December 2016, Johnson notched a unanimous decision victory over Tim Elliott that, whilst conclusive, came a lot tougher than many had anticipated- a few months after defeating Henry Cejudo via first-round TKO in their first meeting. In 2017, Johnson returned with a third-round submission of BJJ black-belt Wilson Reis (a fight where Johnson landed 135 strikes to Reis’ 18) and a spectacular fifth-round suplex-to-armbar submission win over Ray Borg that had to be seen to be believed.
Cejudo rebounded from a controversial split decision loss to Joseph Benavidez (a result that 14 out of 19 polled media members disagreed with) with consecutive dominant performances- a second-round TKO win over Wilson Reis and a unanimous decision victory against Sergio Pettis.
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 Johnson fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see Cejudo’s results against the same men.
The two fighters share three common opponents; Wilson Reis, Chris Cariaso, and Joseph Benavidez.
Both men recorded aforementioned stoppage victories over Reis, whilst Cejudo had to settle for a unanimous decision victory over Cariaso- an opponent Johnson defeated via second-round submission.
Johnson has faced Benavidez twice, winning via split-decision in 2012 and first-round KO in 2013. Cejudo had a point deducted against Benavidez en route to losing a close split-decision in December 2016.
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. Only UFC results are considered and a fighter coming off a no-contest, a draw, or a bout with another promotion has a streak of 0. 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 227: T.J. Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt II checks in with a strong score of +20.
This score ranks joint-7th out of all 41 events in the last year and 6th out of 13 Pay-Per-View events in the same period.
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 +10 average for all scores in the last twelve months, though it does fall short of the +22.2 average for Pay-Per-View events in that same time frame.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributor to the score is, of course, Demetrious Johnson (+13), with T.J. Dillashaw and Kung Ho Kang (both +3) some way behind.
The lowest scorers are Cub Swanson and Marlon Vera (both -2), whilst 4 fighters are making their UFC debuts at this event.
Enjoy the fights!