ufc scorecards

UFC Scoring – Everything you need to know

In the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and in most MMA contests, fights are scored by three judges sitting cage-side. At the end of each round, the judges score the round based on a variety of factors, including effective striking, grappling, control of the cage, and overall damage inflicted.

The judges use a 10-point must system, which means that a fighter can earn a maximum of 10 points per round and a minimum of 9 points (if the fighter wins the round decisively but doesn’t finish their opponent). The fighter who wins the round is awarded 10 points, while the loser is awarded 9 points.

In addition to the 10-point must system, the judges also consider other factors when scoring a round. Things that the judges are watching out for include:

  • Significant (legal) strikes landed on the opponent
  • Successful wrestling and grappling techniques and positional advances
  • Effective aggression and forward momentum
  • Control of the fighting area (Octagon in the UFC) is the least important criterion and is only used if the two combatants are tied on the other criteria

For example, they may give extra points for a fighter who lands a particularly effective strike or takedown, or who controls the octagon(ring) and dictates where the fight takes place. In other words, judges are looking for which fighter uses their skills most effectively to dominate the opponent.

At the end of the fight, the judges’ scores are totaled up and the fighter with the most points is declared the winner. If the judges score the fight as a draw, the fight is declared a draw.

ufc scorecards
UFC scorecards for Egger vs Perez source: ufc.com

It’s important to note that a judges decision is only one particular way a fight can end. Many fights end by KO or TKO (technical knock out), there are also occasional disqualifications and no contest decisions.

What is a 10-9 score in UFC?

In mixed martial arts (MMA) a 10-9 score indicates that the fighter was in control of the round and was the more effective fighter, but did not dominate their opponent or score a knockdown or finish.

10-9 rounds are the most common score given because it means the fight is close and competitive, with one fighter edging ahead in the judges estimation.

A 10-9 score is a common score in MMA, as it reflects the competitive nature of the sport and the fact that rounds are often closely contested. In order to win a bout, a fighter must earn a majority of the judges’ scores, which means that they must win at least two of the three rounds or win by knockout or submission.

Statistics about fight outcomes

As we know not all fights go to a decision scorecard. Here are some statistics from the last 5 years about fights outcomes (source: fightmatrix.com):

  • 2022 – 513 total fights: 170 ended by knockout, 101 ended by submission, 240 ended by decision, 1 no contest, 1 disqualification
  • 2021 – 509 total fights -170 ended by knockout, 75 ended by submission, 257 ended by decision, 5 no contests, 2 disqualifications
  • 2020: 456 total fights -142 ended by knockout, 84 ended by submission, 226 ended by decision, 2 no contests, 2 disqualifications
  • 2019: 516 total fights -152 ended by knockout, 82 ended by submission, 278 ended by decision, 3 no contests, 1 disqualification
  • 2018: 474 total fights -151 ended by knockout, 90 ended by submission, 229 ended by decision, 3 no contests, 1 disqualification
  • 2017: 457 total fights-145 ended by knockout, 81 ended by submission, 225 ended by decision, 5 no contests, 1 disqualification

As you can see above, not all UFC fights end in a finish. In fact, as time goes on we have seen a lower ratio of finishes vs total fights.

There could be multiple reasons for this. Firstly, the sport has exploded in the last 10 years and more fights are happening more frequently, which pushes the total fight number higher. Secondly, as divisions become deeper and more skilled, match ups become more even. The standard in the UFC is such that fighters are very evenly matched and because of this we see less finishes and KO’s as time goes on.

Fighters decision. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/

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