Photos by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Let's get this right out of the way: this decision was not a robbery. At least not by the judging criteria of the ten-point must system. This is what happens when judges are forced to pick a winner in two rounds which were not only close, but filled with inactivity.
This fight being scheduled for three rounds is the real robbery. Lyoto Machida and Quinton Jackson are the number two and number four ranked light heavyweights, respectively. They have both worn championship gold. They have combined for 55 professional fights and a 13-3 record in the UFC heading into tonight. Men of this caliber should be given greater than fifteen minutes to sort out the superior fighter.
I disagree with the idea that the ten-point must system doesn't work for MMA. It's imperfect, as any system subjective scoring system will be. It's the implementation and criteria that need to be fixed. We don't need half-point scoring. Instruct judges to be more liberal in their use of scores outside the typical 10-9. How can anyone watch the first two rounds of tonight's main event and say, conclusively, that either fighter was the rightful winner? MMA judges should be relieved of the idea that someone is pointing a gun toward the back of their heads while they scribble diligently into their scorecards..
FightMetric has their report up for the fight, and it tells the story. Machida won the fight, but not the rounds. They awarded a 10-10 in round two for the 29-29 draw.
The breakdown of strikes complicates the scoring matter. Machida landed more significant strikes (which FightMetric defines as "all strikes at distance and power strikes in the clinch and on the ground") in each of the first two rounds, while Jackson had the edge in total volume.
In the end, however, everyone knows who won the fight. The fans know who won the fight. Lyoto Machida knows who won the fight. Quinton Jackson knows who won the fight. Dana White and Joe Silva know who won the fight. And I'd wager that all three judges at ringside know who won the fight, even if their square scorecards are forced through the round holes of judging precedent.