Thankfully Renan Barao vs TJ Dillashaw was not another decision. While it would still have gone down as one of the most impressive performances ever from a title challenger, the fact that TJ still went for the finish when he was obviously ahead on the scorecards really put the icing on the cake. Up until the point of the finish I was scoring the fight by the system I usually employ and now I'm gonna attempt to explain said system and how it could've lead to an astonishing 50 - 38 scorecard. I got the idea for the basis of the system from someone else (possibly an article on Bloody Elbow) but regretfully I don't remember where so I can't give credit for it. Essentially, it goes like this: fights are judged under the same criteria and rules as the current set of Unified Rules, but with slightly more emphasis on damage and near finishes and slightly less emphasis on control. Round scores are awarded in the following manner and 10-10 rounds are awarded to greater extent than today:
10 - 10 No winner could be determined
10 - 9 The round was close and the winner narrowly edged the decision
10 - 8 Essentially what is used for an average 10-9-round today. Not a crazy dominant round, but still a clear winner nonetheless.
10 - 7 Essentially what is used for an average 10-8-round today, but awarded to greater extent. A clearly dominant round, usually with a knockdown and/or near submission finish.
10 - 6 Essentially what is used for a 10-7-round today but this practically never happens. Maybe Edgar-Maynard round 1?
As you can see, this scoring would be beneficial in getting rid of the current situation, where essentially every round no matter how close or dominant is awarded a 10-9. Now, in order to give an example of how the scoring of an actual fight would play out, lets look at the unsuccesful title defense of Renan Barao vs TJ Dillashaw:
Round 1: TJ comes out and immedietly starts moving his feet, bouncing around the cage and landing low kicks at will. The unorthodox angles and constant movement are giving Renan problems right away. Renan lands a few decent kicks but eats a couple of huge punches in return. Solid jab snaps back the head of TJ. TJ lands a thunderous overhand right that sends Renan to the canvas, followed up with some ground and pound and some back and forth submission attempts favoring TJ. Huge round for TJ here, he lands at will, drops Renan and takes very little damage. Score 10 - 7
Round 2: Way better start for Barao in the second, they trade punches and kicks and TJ is more stationary. TJ lands a head kick and both men throw bombs without connecting. TJ goes for a takedown but Renan scrambles back to his feet defending a guillotine. Low blow from Renan. TJ connects with another big overhand right on the fence. Solid punches from Barao. Another head kick from TJ and quick combinations, Renan looks frustrated as the bell sounds. Back and forth action but another round for TJ. Score 10 - 8 (an argument can definitly be made for 10 - 9)
Round 3: TJ comes out with way more movement again and they trade punches. The feints from TJ are working and allows him to lands combinations. Big kicks from Barao. Barao is clearly slowing down, TJ lands another head kick and a few huge combinations. Back and forth but TJ gets the better of the action. Renan tries to tell Herb he got poked in the eye and TJ uses the opportunity to land a few big punches. Clear round for TJ. Score 10 - 8
Round 4: Unsuccesful single leg attempt from TJ. Lots of movement and another head kick. Renan can't find his mark, TJ lands a few body kicks and a big left. Renan misses a spinning back kick and eats a few punches. Renan lands a good punch with his back to the fence. TJ puts Renan on the fence and works his clinch game. Renan slips after kicking the air again and ends up on his back. The round ends with TJ landing ground and pound. Score 10 - 8
Round 5: TJ still looks very fresh, moving around with ease. Renan lands a few punches. Big knee and solid lefts by TJ. Renan is visibly tired and his face is busted up. TJ gets out of the way of a telegraphed knee. Beautiful combinations and movement by TJ, he lands a huge head kick and finishes Barao with punches on the feet and on the ground. Had Barao survived and the round progressed like the others, this would have been another huge round for TJ. Score 10 - 7
Adding all that upp, we get a final score of 50 - 38 (or 50 - 39, depending on how you scored the second) and an absolutely stunning victory for TJ. What are your thoughts on the scores and the system as a whole?