UFC action is back underway for the first time in 2018 and it’s returned with a card headlined by two fan-favorites, as Jeremy Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) takes on Doo Ho Choi (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC).
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Sunday night’s main event:
Stephens followed back-to-back decision losses to Frankie Edgar and Renato Moicano with a one-sided unanimous decision victory over former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez- a fight that the judges scored 30-26, 30-25 and 30-26 in Stephens’ favor.
“Lil’ Heathen” has seen 8 of his last 9 fights go to the judges’ scorecards and holds the record for the most decision losses in UFC history (10). Sunday’s bout will move Stephens just 2 fights shy of Michael Bisping’s all-time record of 29 UFC fights.
Choi won his first 3 UFC bouts via first-round KO, the most recent two victories coming against Sam Sicilia and Thiago Tavares, before losing to featherweight veteran Cub Swanson- the only loss in Choi’s last 13 fights.
That fight between Choi and Swanson, a back-and-forth classic, won both the ESPN and World MMA Awards’ Fight of the Year prize for 2016
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 Stephens fared against any shared opponents, and on the right, you’ll see Choi’s results against the same men.
The two men share just one common opponent; Cub Swanson. Choi lost via unanimous decision in a three-round affair in December 2016, whilst Stephens came up short in a five-round unanimous decision loss to Swanson in June 2014. Both of these fights against Swanson won their event’s Fight of the Night award.
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 Fight Night 124: Stephens vs. Choi kicks the year off with a strong score of +14.
This score ranks joint-16th out of 39 events in the last year and 5th out of 23 Fight Night events in that same time frame.
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 +2.3 for Fight Night events in the last year, as well as the +10.5 average for all events in the last 12 months.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributor to the score is Kamaru Usman (+6), ahead of Darren Elkins (+5) and James Krause (+3).
The lowest individual scorer is Jessica Eye (-4). A loss on Sunday for Eye would see her join Andrei Arlovski, B.J. Penn, Josh Koscheck, Leonard Garcia and Steve Cantwell in the list of fighters who have lost 5 consecutive fights whilst competing under the UFC banner.
Enjoy the fights!