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Measuring Momentum – the Dwyer Score of UFC 205: Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor

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Stephen Thompson

(Update below)

The UFC finally makes its debut in New York City with a Dwyer Score fitting of such a historic event. UFC 205 posts a huge score of +50, the highest score of 2016, and a score bettered by just one event (UFC 194, +62) in the promotion’s history. This score far exceeds 2016’s average score of +13.67 and is, amazingly, twice as high as the average score for just PPV events, +25.

Three men are tied for the honour of highest-scoring fighter on the card, as Stephen Thompson, Yoel Romero and Khabib Nurmagomedov all contribute +7. No fighter on the card contributes less than -1 to the score, with Chris Weidman, Miesha Tate, Frankie Edgar, Thiago Alves and Rafael Natal all entering the card off the back of a solitary UFC defeat. The fight on the card with the biggest momentum differential is the 8 point swing between the aforementioned Romero and Weidman.

The late removal of the fight between Tim Kennedy (-1) and Rashad Evans (-2) actually saw a 3 point increase in the event’s score and pulled the event ahead of UFC 165: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, in the all-time rankings.

This is the best card the UFC have ever assembled, and this score reflects that. Roll on Saturday.

The Big Contributors

Stephen Thompson +7: Currently riding a winning streak that includes victories over Robert Whittaker, Patrick Côté, Jake Ellenberger, Johny Hendricks and Rory MacDonald, Thompson is entering his first ever title shot in the form of his life. Even as a contender he’ll be the bookies’ favourite against champion Tyron Woodley, but just ask Robbie Lawler how much that matters.

Yoel Romero +7: Romero has finished Derek Brunson, Lyoto Machida and Tim Kennedy in building his current streak and his last fight saw him squeak out a controversial decision win over Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza. As impressive a UFC run as Romero has had, he has still looked beatable at times in the Brunson, Kennedy and ‘Jacaré’ fights and former champion Chris Weidman is looking to make a claim for a  title shot in a division that really is up in the air.

Khabib Nurmagomedov +7: Aside from former champion Rafael dos Anjos, Khabib’s streak doesn’t really include the calibre of opponents that Thompson and Romero have faced. The 23-0 fighter has been repeatedly booked for fights with top contenders like Donald Cerrone and Tony Ferguson, though injuries keep throwing a spanner in the works. Even a win over Michael Johnson may not be enough to see him overtake Ferguson in most people’s rankings,  but what happens next in this weight class is anyone’s guess.

Update: Following the last-minute scrapping of the bout between Kelvin Gastelum (+1) and Donald Cerrone (+3) the event’s Dwyer Score has dropped to +46. It remains the highest scoring event of 2016, though drops behind UFC 165: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson (+47) in the all-time list. The below scores have been updated.


Last 5 Dwyer Scores

UFC 205 Alvarez vs. McGregor +46

TUFLA Finale dos Anjos vs. Ferguson +16

UFC 204 Bisping vs. Henderson II +17

UFC FN Dodson vs. Lineker +7

UFC FN Justino vs. Lansberg +8


Top 5 Dwyer Scores (all-time)

UFC 194: +62

UFC 165: +47

UFC 205: +46

UFC 178: +44

UFC 198: +43


The Dwyer Score is a simple way of assigning a numeric value to the momentum of any one event. We can do this by assigning a figure to each fighter’s current streak. A fighter on a three fight win-streak contributes +3 to an event’s score. A fighter on a two-fight losing streak contributes -2 to the score. No Contests, Draws or bouts with other promotions reset your streak to 0. If you tally up the scores for every fighter on a card (only counting UFC fights) you get a total which gives you an idea of the combined momentum of fighters heading into a specific event.

As you may imagine, pay-per-view events tend to have higher scores than Fight Nights, as fighters on longer winning streaks tend to be placed on bigger cards. For example, UFC Fight Night: Ben Rothwell vs. Junior dos Santos was a +4, whilst UFC 194: José Aldo vs. Conor McGregor was a +62.

So what does this tell us? It cannot definitively measure the quality or excitement of any one specific event, however, it does give a value for a card’s momentum that is immune to the business side of MMA promotion. Events pitting fighters at the top of their game against each other will score well, events that fast-track fighters into main card slots or push too many immediate rematches will not.

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Announcement

Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223

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UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.

 

Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.

After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.

A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.

Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.

Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.

A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.

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Bellator

Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet

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Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.

“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”

Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.

“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”

Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.

“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”

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Fight Announcements

Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April

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MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.

 

The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.

Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.

An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.

His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).

Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.

PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.

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