The goal of the 10 point must system is to obtain the same result as judging a fight on the whole while also allowing some type of accountability for the judges involved. Of course improving judging quality through education and giving them access to monitors and perhaps even statistics would improve their ability to make the correct decisions, but with mostly 10-9 rounds and an occasional 10-8, it becomes hard to add more weight to a round where one fighter wins a little more decisively than the other rounds which makes it very hard to reach the same result as judging the fight as a whole. In my mind the best way to do this is to be more liberal in assigning 10-10 and 10-7 rounds.
The first post in the following thread is the NSAC scoring criteria, emailed to a fan by Marc Ratner:
If followed closely, we have a pretty good idea of what a 10-9 round is. But past that is based on dominance. In this post ill examine the 10-7 round by looking at rounds where I think the dominance was enough to justify a sighting of dana white's unicorn and then try to differentiate what separates the 10-7 from the 10-8 round and give definitions for each.
This will be a 3 part series. In the next 2 parts i will look at 10-9 rounds that should have been 10-8s and after that i will look at 10-9 rounds that should have been 10-10s.
play by play for the round taken from mmajunkie:
Aldo backs Faber into the corner and delivers another kick to the lead leg. Aldo with a quick right hand. Aldo retreats from a few Faber punches then moves back into range. Faber limping horribly after a low kick. Faber nearly has a takedown, but Aldo backs away. Faber stays on the floor, and Aldo moves in and to mount. Faber rolls, but Aldo on the back with both hooks in. Aldo looking for the choke from the back. Both fighters on their sides. Two minutes in. Faber rolls out and nearly grabs a head on his way back to the feet. Crowd erupts at the escape. Aldo drops Faber with a low kick. Aldo moves in carefully to avoid the upkicks. Faber grabs half-guard underneath. Two minutes remain. Aldo pulls his leg free and moves to side control. He grabs the crucifix and starts landing left hands to the face. Faber trapped on bottom, but he tries to buck free. Aldo throws short elbows. More punches and elbows. Faber covering his face and trying to buck, but Aldo's top control is tight. Rosenthal watching closely, but the short shots aren't all landing clean. The crowd cheers, trying to will Faber to the bell. They do. Barely.
Fightmetric tallied 83 strikes landed for aldo, 23 of which were considered significant. He had one knockdown and was credited with 4 guard passes while faber only landed 5 strikes the entire round, none of which were significant. Their formula for quantifying rounds scored this one 181-4 in favor of aldo. Not many rounds are as completely one sided as this with one fighter mounting virtually 0 offense. But what separates this from other one sided rounds is that aldo had significant offense on the feet and on the ground, obtained dominant positions grappling, and the fight very well could have been stopped as aldo held the crucifix for 90 seconds to end the round.
Cris Cyborg vs Jan Finney, Round 1:
This fight won sherdog's 2010 beatdown of the year. The other winners of this award were given to fights where the majority of damage was delivered in the round that the fight was stopped. Not this fight. I am choosing to ignore the point deduction and focus on the fact that finney deserved 7 points for her performance in this round.
play by play from sherdog:
Finney lands a good right hook to start proceedings, forcing Cyborg to flurry back. Finney lands another clean right hands that makes Santos close the distance and clinch up. After they break, Cyborg lands a hard right hands, and just continues to throw heavy leather, dropping Finney to her knees. As Finney regains her footing, she walks facefirst into a Cyborg right knee that puts her on her knee again. Great chin from Finney shown so far. Up against the fence, Santos lands another wicked right cross that puts Finney on the deck, clinging to a single leg. Cyborg smashes away with hammerfists to the side of her head, until she pulls guard. Referee Kim Winslow stands the fighters and Cyborg blasts her with another right hand. Cyborg pounces with punches and bunches and hits the back of the head at the end of a flurry. Winslow deducts a point for the foul. Finney is given time to recover and her face is all busted up. The fighters trade punches briefly and Cyborg presses her prey against the fencing. The Brazilian steps backwards to gain a punching distance and she delivers. The fighters trade and Cyborg bullies her with straight rights. Finney collapses to the floor and Cyborg tees of with her right hand. Cyborg looks at Winslow, but the referee does nothing. Finney is turtled and Cyborg is showing no mercy. The round ends with Finney getting beat on while attempting a single.
Cris Cyborg vs Jan Finney Part 1 (via zimbashka)
Cyborg outlanded Finney 83-20, 55 of those strikes being significant. She was also credited with 2 knockdowns. Two of the three sherdog play-by-play judges scored this round 9-7. Finney managed to fight back more than faber did in their respective 7 point rounds, but this round was much more brutal. The flurries that nearly ended the fight multiple times were devastating and I'm not sure why Winslow didnt stop this. If i recall correctly, finney was a late replacement, and this is exactly what kind of violence you should expect when you completely mismatch a fight. Bad job by the referees and commission for allowing this, but the perfect example of a 7 point round.
Shane Carwin vs Brock Lesnar, round 1:
The two most noteworthy things about this round were how hard shane carwin hits and how helpless brock lesnar looked. While he didnt land nearly as many strikes as the previous entries, he hits harder than almost anyone in MMA and had brock in terrible shape. This fight could have been stopped at any point during the ground flurry and there wouldnt be much to complain about, but fortunately for brock he was allowed to continue and work his magic.
play by play from sherdog:
Both fighters start tentitve and paw out jabs. Carwin clips Lesnar with a left hook and uses a whizzer to defend a powerful shot. The fighters stand and Carwin connects with a knee. Carwin is bullying Lesnar around the cage with punches, bullrushing him against the fence. Lesnar slips and Carwin pours it on with punches as referee Josh Rosenthal watches on closely. Carwin continues to tee off with both hands as Lesnar does nothing but defend from the bottom. Lesnar is bleeding from a cut above his left eye. Carwin lights him up with two hard elbows. Carwin stands in the guard and continues his assault as Lesnar just takes a beating. Carwin backs away for a moment to catch his breath and Lesnar kicks the left leg from his back. Carwin jumps back into half guard and seems to rest. Lesnar gets space to get to his feet and it appears the champion has survived a serious onslaught. Lesnar presses Carwin against the cage and knees the thigh. Lesnar attempts a single at the bell.
Fightmetric quantified this round at 276-15 for shane carwin, a completely lopsided round with one of the highest point totals ive ever seen on fightmetric. Lesnar landed a few strikes and attempted a few takedowns, but other than that it was all carwin. He had his way with lesnar the entire round, and combining the force of his strikes with how close this was to being stopped, i believe a 10-7 is justified.
Gray Maynard vs Frank Edgar 2, round 1:
Another example where the fighter on the receiving end of the beatdown makes an amazing comeback, this time to earn himself a draw.
play by play from mmajunkie:
Edgar bouncing early as he pops a few pawing jabs. Edgar scores with an inside leg kick.Maynard in the center, defending early. Outside leg kick from Edgar. Maynard delivers two punches. Speed difference very evident early. Maynard stuns Edgar with a left hook, and he's in trouble. Maynard chases him across the cage. Maynard pounces and fires punches. Esgar trying to get back to his feet, but Maynard has yet to stop punching. Edgar somehow survive the onslaught, and works to his feet. His nose is bloodied, but he looks reasonably clear. he's not. Maynard punches him again, and Edgar staggers away. Edgar is in straight recovery mode. How much did the flurry take from Maynard? Edgar pulls away and resets. We'll see. Two minutes left. RIght hook stagger sEdgar again, and he falls to the floor. He gets up, but he's completely out on his feet. Maynard drops him again. Edgar works up, and he lands a straight, Maynard just playing target practice, though. Maynard misses a homerun punch, but he's walking forward with his hands down. Edgar does lands to punches. Maynard patiently stalking. Thai clinch, and he just misses a knee. Edgar all heart, and he survives.
Fightmetric scored this round 277-44 for maynard. He was credited with 1 takedown, 2 knockdowns, 1 submission attempt and outlanded edgar 47-10 (25 of which were significant strikes). He completely ragdolled frankie around the cage, and it was an amazing feat to even make it to the bell by frankie. The fact that he came back and won at least 3 rounds afterwards is astonishing. But the story in this round was all maynard and how he very nearly won the belt a few minutes in. If this fight was stopped at any point during the beatdown, not too many people would have complained given how wobbly and out of it frankie was.
Cain Velasquez vs Ben Rothwell, round 1:
When most people reminisce about this fight, the two things that come to mind are generally "cain velasquez has pillow hands" and "it was kind of an early stoppage". When I think about this fight, the thing that stands out to me is how much offense cain had and how little rothwell had.
Play by play from mmajunkie:
Velasquez throws a kick to the body, Rothwell counters with a 1-2. Velasquez sinks for a single and finishes it with a trip. Rothwell tries to work back to his feet, but Velasquez sucks him back down to the floor again. Rothwell stands but Velasquez dumps him to the floor again, but this time Rothwell climbs back to his feet immediately. the fighters exchange, with Velasquez actually landing the cleaner shots. Velasquez drops for another successful takedown, and lands some punishment from side control. Rothwell is able to create an escape, but Velasquez shoots for a successful single and brings Rothwell down again. Velasquez lands several big shot and then transitions to mount briefly. Rothwell is able to escape the mount, but Velasquez stays on top and continues to punish. Rothwell is able to stand up again but immediately gets dumped back down. Velasquez stands over his exhausted opponent and lands numerous hard shots. However, Rothwell is able to hang on and the round ends. MMAjunkie.com scores the first round 10-8 for Velasquez and wouldn't argue with a 10-7.
I bolded the last part because it is not common to ever see a site say this, especially a year and a half ago, but the round was just that lopsided and brutal. Fightmetric had cain outlanding rothwell 71-3 in the first round with 51 of those strikes being significant. He was also credited with 4 takedowns and 3 guard passes. Just an absolutely brutal all out assault with nothing in return from rothwell except a great chin. This fight is slightly different than the other rounds I have mentioned in that a stoppage during the first round would have been considered slightly premature (as it was in the second). but the round was such an incredible beatdown with a very high output of offense from velasquez that I believe it deserves a 10-7.
I have chosen to not include diego sanchez vs clay guida round 1 as a 10-7 round because I believe guida had enough offense during the round, and diego wasnt quite close enough to a finish to justify a 10-7 despite having the highest point quantified total in fightmetrics library for a single unfinished round (at least i think it is the highest).
Defining the 10-8 and 10-7 rounds: Now that we at least have 5 examples of what we think a 10-7 round could look like, we can better describe what a 10-8 round or a 10-7 round could look like. It's best to start from 10-10 and work down so we can build upon the previous definitions.
What is a 10-10 round?
- The fighters mount roughly the same amount of offense in all areas of the fight
- Each fighters offensive output in a single area is offset equally by the other fighters offensive output in another area. For example, one fighter has more effective striking however the other fighter is equally more effective than his opponent in the grappling realm.
A 10-10 round is exactly what we would expect it to be: too close to call because either grappling/striking cancel each other out or there is no distinguishable winner in any area of the fight.
What is a 10-9 round? Simply put, one fighter was more effective than the other was during the course of the round based mostly on striking/grappling and to a lesser extent aggression. Of course there are different interpretations of this as some judges value a takedown as more weight than strikes, but we have a good definition of a 10-9 round can be deduced from the scoring criteria email from Marc Ratner posted at the top of this post.
When we move past the 10-9 rounds into the 10-8 and worse area, we start talking about the idea of dominance. Taken from the post at the top:
- M. Domination Criteria
- 1. A Judge may determine that a fighter dominated his opponent in a round. This can lead to a two point or more difference on a Judge's scorecard.
- 2. The definition of a dominating round is a fighter's ability to effectively strike, grapple and control his opponent.
- 3. A Judge may determine a round was dominating if a fighter was adversely affected by one of the following: a) knocked down from standing position by clean strike, b) by submission attempt, c) from a throw, d)from clean strikes either standing or grounded
So for a 10-8 round, we are talking about a fight that was nearly finished by either a submission or strikes, OR a round that was very one sided. In this specific case I mean or to be XOR, meaning exactly one of the choices. I think when we talk about both of these things happening we are getting into the 10-7 round territory.
What constitutes a 10-7 round?
- the fight is nearly finished multiple times in a round and the fighter who was nearly finished mounts little offense (cyborg vs finney, maynard vs edgar)
- the fight is nearly finished and was very one sided (carwin vs lesnar, aldo vs edgar)
- one fighter has an extremely high level of output and does significant damage to his opponent who has virtually no offense (cain vs rothwell)
I dont think it is really necessary at this point in time to go past 10-7 into the 10-6, 10-5 or worse area, but maybe down the road when judging has improved and we can point to extreme real world examples where more stratification is necessary (something along the lines of one fighter crushes the first round past 10-7, and the other comes back and wins 2 rounds 10-8, but the first round should offset those 2 rounds to a draw). But i dont think having 10-8 rounds is enough when we can point to the maynard/edgar fight and say decisively that maynard won the fight overall, but should be awarded a draw based on the first round being only 10-8.