The system in 10 points and more


The judges scorecards for the Jon Jones and Dominick Reyes fight.Jon Jones Dominick Reyes Ufc 247 Scorecard

Wondering how to score in UFC fights and what helps decide a judge’s scorecard is a common question for new and veteran fans of mixed martial arts. This can be a bit confusing considering the myriad of options available to fighters in the injury business that is an MMA fight.

In its simplest form, efficiency and control are the most important factors in influencing a combat decision. But never fear, we’ll explain how UFC fights are scored, as well as illegal MMA moves that can lead to disqualifications.

How does UFC scoring work?

how to score in ufc fights
December 11, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Charles Oliveira pins Dustin Poirier to the mat during UFC 269 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie – USA TODAY Sports

Although MMA rules vary between certain US states, countries, and between different organizations, the most commonly used set of rules is called the “Unified Mixed Martial Arts Rules”. Under these guidelines, scoring for each round is based on effective striking/grabbing, effective aggression, and – in the case of the UFC – control of the octagon.

When it comes to effective striking, essentially, judges are looking for damages. Quality over quantity, so to speak. That doesn’t mean landing a bunch of punches to an opponent’s body is a bad thing, but the strikes that have the most fight-ending potential are higher in the scoring pecking order.

Like the game of stand-up, effective grappling is also about inflicting damage and not just grappling with a competitor on the mat and holding on for life. As best explains, “a successful takedown is not simply a change of position, but the setting up of an attack from the use of the takedown.”

How scoring works in the UFC

When it comes to aggression, a fighter can’t rack up points just by stepping forward and getting taken down by a man with better footwork and technique. A UFC fighter has to make the most of that pressure. “Chasing after an opponent with no effective result or impact should not be factored into judges’ evaluations,” the Unified Rules state.

The least important criterion – although viable nonetheless – is control of the octagon. For someone like current UFC middleweight king Israel Adesanya, who has a keen sense of using reach to effectively control the center of the cage, and the struggle to keep the fight on its feet, he is a good example of Octagon control. As he dictates how and where the fight goes in many of his tracks.

The 10-point system is essential

Another key part of how the UFC and MMA rounds are scored is the mandatory 10-point scoring system. Where, no matter what happens in a round, the judges must decide a winner of the round and award him 10 points after those five minutes.

Most rounds result in a 10-9 score, however, there are instances of 10-8 and 10-7 scores. Although rarer, important at the level of dominance – think of Gray Maynard’s multiple knockdowns on Frankie Edger in their 2011 rematch – a fighter can score better than a regular 10-9 after five minutes of action. .

What moves are illegal in the UFC?

If a fighter uses these guidelines effectively in an Octagon battle, they’re likely to raise their hand after Bruce Buffer reads the scorecards. However, there are a few things rage-filled contestants can do that could result in a fight-ending disqualification.

Headbutting, eye gouging, biting, spitting, phishing, hair pulling, slapping an opponent on the head, and blows to the back of the skull, spine or throat are absolutely prohibited. UFC fighters can’t grab a guy by the throat, attack in the groin, use an elbow strike in the 12-6 down direction, or hit an opponent who is “on the ground” with a knee , kick or stomp.

How scoring works in the UFC

You also cannot claw, pinch, or twist skin, use small joint manipulations, and attack an opponent after the round or fight ends. So, suffice it to say, all of the really crazy and fun stuff in a fight will have to be saved for the streets or your favorite pro wrestling league.


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