After a poor start to the year which saw UFC Fight Night: Yair Rodríguez vs. B.J. Penn equal the record for the lowest Dwyer Score in UFC history, UFC on FOX: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Julianna Peña responds well, carding a respectable score of +14. That beats the average score for all events over the last 12 months (+12.4) as well as the average for UFC on FOX events in that same timeframe (+9.5).
It’s a three-way tie for the highest score on the card, with Julianna Peña, Donald Cerrone, and Francis Ngannou all on +4. Sam Alvey lies just behind with +3, an impressive feat considering Alvey last lost as recently as June 2016. The lowest scorer on the card is Andrei Arlovski, currently on a streak of -3.
The Big Contributors
Julianna Peña +4: Peña’s 4-fight winning streak stretches over more than 3 years and includes victories over Jessica Rakoczy, Milana Dudieva, Jessica Eye and Cat Zingano. Before embarking on this winning streak, the TUF 18 champion also won 3 exhibition fights on her season of the show. A win here, in ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’s’ first UFC main event, would all but guarantee her a title shot.
Donald Cerrone +4: This streak has been put together entirely at welterweight, with stoppage victories over Alex Oliveira, Patrick Côté, Rick Story and Matt Brown (1 SUB, 3 TKO/KOs). This is the third time ‘Cowboy’ has put together a 4 fight winning streak with the UFC. On the first occasion, that streak ended at 4, on the second occasion that streak made it to 8. A win on Saturday would see Cerrone equal Michael Bisping’s record for most wins in UFC history (20), overtaking UFC legend Georges St-Pierre in the process and also closing in on the record for most UFC fights.
Francis Ngannou +4: Ngannou’s first 4 UFC bouts have all ended by either TKO/KO or submission, and the Frenchman has never seen the third round of a fight in his career. His opponent, Andrei Arlovski, is entering the fight after 3 consecutive stoppage losses, but nevertheless represents the sternest test of Ngannou’s career.
Last 5 Dwyer Scores
UFC on FOX- Shevchenko vs. Peña: +14
UFC FN- Rodríguez vs. Penn: -13
UFC 207- Nunes vs. Rousey: +17
UFC on FOX- VanZant vs. Waterson: +9
UFC 206- Holloway vs. Pettis: +23
Top 5 Dwyer Scores (all-time)
UFC 194 Aldo vs. McGregor: +62
UFC 165 Jones vs. Gustafsson: +47
UFC 205 Alvarez vs. McGregor: +46
UFC 178 Johnson vs. Cariaso: +44
UFC 198 Werdum vs. Miocic: +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.
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation
Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.
Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.
Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.
From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.
The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
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