The term “robbery” is about like the term “legend” when it comes to MMA fans in that both terms get thrown around entirely too much. The main event of UFC 150 on Saturday night was no different when the decision was announced and Ben Henderson retained his UFC lightweight title via split decision in what an extremely close fight that was difficult to judge against Frankie Edgar.
Fights that could arguably go to either fighter are not robberies. I scored the fight a draw, but if the judges did that fickle MMA fans would be complaining about that, so I suppose it’s a no win situation for the judges. Trust me, I definitely call them out when I think they are wrong and it does happen more often than I care to admit. UFC middleweight Fabio Maldonado should have gotten the nod twice but has come out on the losing end on both occasions. Riki Fukuda losing a decision against Nick Ring at UFC 127 was a robbery. I know that stats only tell a little bit of the story, but I think Fightmetric is fairly accurate so let’s take a look at the stats from Saturday night:
I think most sane people had the fight scored one round apiece after two rounds so we’ll start with the third round. However, you can see the stats have round two pretty darn close as well. Two strikes is the difference in the ENTIRE round(third round) between both fighters. Henderson threw four more strikes than Edgar. Then we get into semantics about what counts more, a leg kick, body kick, or jabs to the face. If there was ever a 10-10 round, that was it.
Round four saw Henderson turn the tables and out land Edgar by two significant strikes, but Edgar had a takedown that he didn’t do much with and is credited with a submission attempt that was never close to being a threat to stopping Henderson in my opinion.
Round five saw Edgar with the clear edge in significant strikes landed, and he was the busier fighter throwing ten more strikes than Henderson.
So just by looking at the stats you can tell that this was a razor close fight. I think the biggest difference was that the significant strikes that Henderson threw and landed seemed to have more effect on Edgar than vice versa. Besides the punch that dropped Henderson in the second round, and a right hand that snapped Henderson’s head back in round 4, I can’t think of many other instances where he did any type of damage.
Edgar has had four or five fights like this where he uses a ton of movement and lands strikes that have little to no effect on opponents which have resulted in very close fights. If anything, it’s probably one of the main reasons why UFC President Dana White has been begging him to move down to the featherweight division to compete against guys more his size. The scary part about that is that the champion Jose Aldo will have a significant size advantage on Edgar as well if they ever fight.
So fans and pundits, please take a step back and think about things for a bit. This fight could have gone either way three rounds to two, or arguably could have been a draw. People would have been angry with all of those outcomes, so just realize that the fight wasn’t a robbery by any stretch of the imagination. It was just a competitive fight that was extremely close in all facets.