As the judge’s decision was being read for Saturday s UFC 123 main event, even the eventual winner was surprised with what was read by Bruce Buffer. The judge’s scores were 28-29, 29-28 & 29-28 for a split decision in favor of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, who upon hearing the scores looked like he had gotten an early Christmas present.

The fight can be argued for or against either fighter, and why they deserved to win tell you’re blue in the face. Lyoto Machida didn’t lose the fight because he was out struck by Jackson in both rounds one and two, but he lost because of his fighting style. In fact, Joe Rogan and Jackson touched on this brief following the judge’s decision.

Machida’s counter-striking style made Jackson look even more like the aggressor in both rounds one and two. When Jackson was putting on the pressure, Machida style would have him moving back looking for an opening. Coupled with the striking numbers that were in favor of Jackson (Rd 1: 25-12; Rd 2: 21-9) in both those rounds, two judges decided to give those rounds to Jackson.

In the third round Machida’s style finally worked and he was able to catch Jackson with a counter strike. He went onto easily win the round on all three judges card and also inflicted the most damage in the fight that round, which is where fight scoring as opposed to round scoring would have come in handy. Unfortunately for Machida fights are currently scored by the round and two judges saw his backpedaling and lack of engaging as a win for Jackson.

Judges scoring is an ongoing hot topic in the MMA community and justifiably so with decision like the Nik Lentz vs. Tyson Griffin fight on the UFC 123 undercard. The outcome in this fight was less a scoring issue and more of a fighter’s style betraying him against an aggressive fighter. If Machida would have been able to do what he did in round three in either one of the first two rounds he would have likely taken a unanimous decision.

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