This Sunday, the UFC hosts their maiden event in Liverpool, England, where two-time UFC welterweight title contender Stephen Thompson (14-2-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) takes on hometown hero Darren Till (16-0-1 MMA, 4-0-1 UFC).
It’s one of the most anticipated fights of the year (so far) and an impressive win for either man will place them firmly in the 170 lbs. title picture.
Let’s take a look at the recent results of the two men in Sunday night’s main event:
In November 2016, Thompson saw his seven-fight winning streak brought to a halt with a majority draw against Tyron Woodley. In their immediate rematch, Thompson suffered a majority decision defeat, with 14 out of 19 polled media members disagreeing with this verdict.
Thompson rebounded from his close title fights with Woodley with a clear unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal last November.
Till fought three times in 2017, following unanimous decision wins over Jessin Ayari and Bojan Veličković with an emphatic first-round TKO over the man who holds the (joint) record for the most wins in UFC history, Donald Cerrone.
In Thompson, Till is facing a fighter who, if a couple of rounds had been scored differently, could easily be the UFC welterweight champion. It’s a significant step-up in competition for Till, but the same thing could have been said before the Cerrone fight.
As of yet, Thompson and Till have shared 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. 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 Fight Nights of all time, to help give some context to this score.
UFC Fight Night 130: Stephen Thompson vs. Darren Till checks in with a score of +4.
This score ranks joint-27th out of 42 events in the last year and 11th out of 24 Fight Night events in that 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 beats the +2.5 average for Fight Nights in the last twelve months, but it does fall short of the +9.6 average for all events in that same time frame.
The highest individual contributors to the score are Darren Till and Arnold Allen (both +3), followed by Sunday night’s opponents Cláudio Silva and Nordine Taleb (both +2).
The lowest scorer on the card is Darren Stewart (-3), with Jason Knight, Eric Spicely and Dan Kelly (all -2) just behind. This time last year, Knight, Spicely and Kelly were riding respective four-fight, two-fight and four-fight UFC winning streaks.
Three fighters will be making their UFC debuts on Sunday; Craig White, who is filling in for the injured Gunnar Nelson, former Cage Warriors flyweight champion Molly McCann and Carlo Pedersoli, who is coming off a victory over UFC vet Nicolas Dalby last month.
Enjoy the fights!