Originally posted on hov-mma  |  Last updated 4/22/13
Nobody knew who won! On a night where the UFC tied the record for most KOs in one event it is no surprise that there was controversy surrounding two of the three fights that went to decision.  The main event between Benson Henderson and Gilbert Melendez was a closely contested battle that illustrates some of the problems with the simplistic nature of MMA scoring.  While I do not agree with the decision in this fight I do not think it is that bad of a decision.  This fight was extremely close and very difficult to score.  If you listen to the various podcasts and post fight shows there are only two things people seem to agree on; that Melendez won the first round, and it was an insanely close fight.  If you were following on Twitter people were all over the place on who won this fight.  It would be a tough task to score this fight with clearly defined criteria and almost impossible under the vague nebulous system that is currently being used.  Before every UFC event Mike Goldberg informs us of the ten point must system that the UFC uses in which the round winner gets ten points and the opponent nine or less.  He then tells it is based on : effective striking, grappling, aggression and octagon control.  Let's start with the ten point must system.  This comes from boxing and should not be used in MMA.  Boxing is just one element of MMA and it is a more simplistic to score than MMA.  You just have to keep track of punches landed and missed.  In  MMA you have kicks, knees, elbows, grappling, and other elements to judge.  We need a system that allows for more room to score and judge a fight especially because not all 10-9 rounds are equal.  Melendez should get more credit for the first round since it is really the only round that people agree that anyone won.  Yet it is valued the same as the other rounds for both fighters and I am by no means suggesting it was a 10-8 round.  That is the problem there needs to be a value between 10-9 and 10-8 that we do not currently have in place.  It needs to either go to 20,30 or higher to account for the degrees by which a fighter can win a round.  I have even heard of a half point system which would be better than what is currently in place.  If we look at the effective striking, I think we can generally tell when someone is out striking their opponent especially when there is a large difference in their skills.  In a fight like the Henderson and Melendez what is effective striking?  How much do Henderson's leg kicks count?  Melendez' knees to the body?  Is an elbow worth more than a punch?  Does every judge count a leg kick the same?  Does Henderson get credit for the leg kick when Melendez catches it and dumps him on the ground?  What does Melendez get for catching and dumping?  I think there needs to be a clear defined system of scoring for strikes that the judges can follow instead of leaving it up to their interpretation of two words.  How effective were Henderson's first round leg kicks if they are what contributed to Melendez slowing down in the later rounds?  If there were a system in place that broke down, strikes in the standup, ground and pound, and strikes from the bottom we would all have a better understanding of how fights are being judged from a striking standpoint.   The second part is just grappling.  There are so many questions and problems with just takedowns alone when it comes to grappling.  I think there needs to be a breakdown on what happens after the takedown.  If a fighter is just taking their opponent down and then does nothing offensive, then I think that it should be valued less than a fighter who is able to do damage to their opponent when they take the fight to the ground.  I also think when a fighter gets the takedown and then spends the whole time on the ground defending against submissions and strikes from the bottom then the other fighter should get more credit.  I would also like to know what are the value of submission attempts?  What is the value of escaping a submission?  I think this is generally an element that changes from judge to judge.  Who was the more effective grappler in this fight?  I would give to Melendez.  He dumped Henderson several times and when the fight did go to the ground Melendez was either on top or he got back to his feet very quickly.  He was the only one who really did any damage on the ground.  I feel like the clinch work was close in this and hard to give to either fighter.  Even if you lean towards Henderson it does not offset what Melendez does in this area on the ground.  When it comes to the aggression and octagon control elements they have always been troublesome to me.  I feel like it again there is no set idea of what to judge in this area.  I feel like a counter punch is at a disadvantage because what they naturally do does not look like they are aggressive or in control.  Between Henderson and Melendez both fighters are aggressive in this fight.  I feel like Melendez is the one who is setting the pace in the first round and throughout most of the second.  Henderson starts to take over in the second and he is the one driving the third and fourth rounds.  Though I think the third is closer in this area.  The fifth I feel it is very even between the two fighters when it comes to aggression.  And I am waiting for someone to explain what octagon control is for me one of these days.  Is it controlling the spacing of the fight?  Is it controlling where they fight?  If so is that double rewarding a takedown?  The current system just raises more questions than it clarifies.  It is also too open to each individual judge's interpretation of literally just six words to score the most complex combat sport today, using a simplistic, antiquated point system from boxing.  It does not even work for boxing so how can we expect it work for MMA?  I think the Henderson versus Melendez fight was an awesome display by two of the best fighters in the sport today.  They are both highly skilled, trained and well rounded fighters who left their heart and soul in the cage Saturday night.  Do they not deserve a scoring system that reflects the hard work and hours of training they put in to hone their skills?  Do we as fans not deserve judges that seem to understand the fight they are watching?  Do the judges not deserve to have clearly defined criteria to score these fights? Yes we all deserve a better system the real question is will somebody actually do something about it?  Article by New HOV-MMA Staff Writer Dwayne Wolff find him on Twitter here
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