Close fights happen in the UFC on a regular basis. Everyone waits for Bruce Buffer to announce the scores, and one side explodes in happiness while the other immediately looks around in disbelief. This is not uncommon. The last two UFC title fights have gone to a split decision, for instance. But there is a big difference between those two fights.
Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit at UFC 195 featured some very decisive rounds. While the final scorecards were definitely debatable, it really only came down to one round that could have gone either way. Every judge, and most bystanders, decisively gave Lawler two rounds and gave Condit two rounds.
While watching the fight live, it seemed like every round was close except for the fourth. Scorecards on Twitter were all over the place, and they were with the judges too.
One judge had it 48-47 Cruz, giving him 1-3 and Dillashaw 4-5. One had it 49-46 Dillashaw, giving Cruz only the second. The final judge had it 49-46 Cruz, giving Dillashaw only the first. When a fight sees two 49-46 scores, but one for each fighter? Yeah, that was a tough fight to call.
My preferred method of validating fight scores isn't the judges (because they suck a lot of the time). It's consensus. Sites like MMADecisions.com are invaluable to me in terms of helping to understand how a fight really went. If every media member picked one side and the judges picked another, you can probably be sure that the media was closer to the truth.
So with that in mind, I decided to poll the Bloody Elbow staff for their take on the fight. I'll lay out their scores below, and summarize them in the conclusion.
Tim Burke: Cruz 1, 2, 3. Dillashaw 4, 5. 48-47 Cruz.
Kid Nate: Cruz 1, 2. Dillashaw 3, 4, 5. 48-47 Dillashaw.
Mookie Alexander: Cruz 2. Dillashaw 1, 3, 4, 5. 49-46 Dillashaw.
Zane Simon: Cruz 1, 2. Dillashaw 3, 4, 5. 48-47 Dillashaw.
Karim Zidan: Cruz 1, 2, 3. Dillashaw 4, 5. 48-47 Cruz.
Katie Winter: Cruz 1, 2, 3. Dillashaw 4, 5. 48-47 Cruz.
Nick Baldwin: Cruz 1, 2, 3, 5. Dillashaw 4. 49-46 Cruz.
Mike Hutchinson: Cruz 1, 2, 3. Dillashaw 4, 5. 48-47 Cruz.
Tim Bissell: Cruz 1, 2, 3, 5. Dillashaw 4. 49-46 Cruz.
Lucas Rezende: Cruz 1, 2, 5. Dillashaw 3, 4. 48-47 Cruz.
Steph Daniels: Cruz 1, 2, 3. Dillashaw 4. 5th 10-10. 49-47 Cruz.
Roy Billington: Cruz 1, 2, 3. Dillashaw 4. 5th 10-10. 49-47 Cruz.
John Nash: Cruz 1, 3. Dillashaw 4. 2nd and 5th 10-10. 49-48 Cruz.
First off, thanks to the staff for participating. Our scores actually ended up overlapping a lot more than I thought they would. Of the 13 polled, 12 gave Cruz the first round and 12 gave him the second round. Only Mookie had Dillashaw winning the first, and Nash saw the second as a 10-10. Everyone gave Dillashaw the fourth, as expected. It was the only clear round in my eyes.
10 of the 13 people gave Cruz the third. So on 8 of the 13 cards, he already had done enough to win a decision after three rounds.
The fifth was the biggest tossup. 3 people gave it to Cruz. 7 gave it to Dillashaw. 3 saw it as an even 10-10 round.
Overall, 10 of the 13 staff members had Cruz winning the fight. This is more on the Cruz side than the media polled by MMA Decisions. There, 12 had it for Cruz, 10 had it for Dillashaw, and one had it as a draw.
There aren't any real conclusions to be drawn other than the fact that it was a close fight with close rounds. But it's always fun to see how others score the bout. Give us your score in the poll below.
UPDATE: I'm a terrible person and completely missed Fraser Coffeen's email with his scores. He had it 48-47 Dillashaw, with Dilly winning 1, 4, and 5. That changes the above stats, balancing things out a bit. The first round now has two votes for Dilly. He also has a vote for the fourth now, lining up with Tony Weeks. Another vote for the fifth puts it even more in Dillashaw's favor.
My sincere apologies to Fraser. I need to change the alerts on my new phone.