This Friday, the UFC returns to one of the most famous venues in MMA history- the 36,500-capacity Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
Ovince Saint Preux (20-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC) takes on former UFC middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami (34-10 MMA, 13-5 UFC), who has stepped in to replace the injured Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua on just six days’ notice.
‘OSP’ will have a significant size advantage over Okami, who fought at welterweight as recently as October 2015. Okami is making his first UFC appearance since being harshly cut from the promotion in 2013 after a spell of just one loss (to Ronaldo Souza) in his last four fights.
In April, Saint Preux recorded his second UFC win with the rarely-seen Von Flue choke, meaning he holds more professional wins using that choke than Jason Von Flue, whom the submission was named after.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Friday night’s main event:
‘OSP’ followed a brutal KO defeat to Jimi Manuwa with a contentious decision loss to Volkan Oezdmir, a result which 14 out of 16 polled media members disagreed with. He rebounded from this skid by defeating Marcos Rogério de Lima with the aforementioned Von Flue choke, helping to keep de Lima’s average fight time at an astonishingly low 2 minutes and 53 seconds over 7 UFC outings.
Okami is currently riding a four-fight winning streak that includes a first-round submission over Shingo Suzuki, a split-decision win over Paul Bradley and a unanimous decision victory over Andre Lobato. Okami has put together a winning streak of three UFC fights or greater on four separate occasions throughout his career.
Saint Preux and Okami share no common opponents throughout their careers.
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. Normally, the graphic to the upper-right displays some of the highest scoring events of all time, but this week I’ve decided to show some of the lowest-scoring events in UFC history.
UFC Fight Night 117: Saint Preux vs. Okami checks in with an extremely low Dwyer Score of -11. It’s the fourth-lowest score of all 412 events in UFC history and the third-lowest score of 2017, behind the Holm-Correia and Rodríguez-Penn cards.
It’s the second time an event headlined by Yushin Okami appears in the lowest 5 scores, with UFC 122 back in 2010 scoring -9.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
As you can see, this score falls way beneath the +6.2 average for Fight Nights, as well as the +12.5 average for all events, over the last 12 months.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributor to the score is the #1 ranked strawweight, Cláudia Gadelha (+2), who will be taking on Jéssica Andrade in an important fight at 115 pounds. Aside from Gadelha, only Ovince Saint Preux, Dong Hyun Kim, Ulka Sasaki, Shinsho Anzai and Luke Jumeau (all +1) enter the card off the back of a UFC victory.
The lowest individual contributor to the score is Takanori Gomi (-4), who is 4-8 in UFC competition. Henrique da Silva (-3) could become the first fighter to lose three times in 2017 if he is unsuccessful on Friday night against former Glory light heavyweight champion Gökhan Saki, who is making the switch from kickboxing to MMA.
Stylistically speaking there are plenty of exciting fighters on the card, so let’s hope they defy this score on Friday night.