In the modern day of mixed martial arts it seems that a 10-10 round is about as rare as a UFO sighting but they do exist.
So what is a 10-10 round? According to the unified rules of combat, A round is to be scored as a 10-10 Round when both contestants appear to be fighting evenly and neither contestant shows dominance in a round.
Mixed martial arts and boxing have obvious similarities in terms of scoring a bout, in the United States both are scored under a round-by-round system which essentially means you could take more accumulative damage and still win the fight with the right game plan.
In boxing it’s fairly clear when a round is scored 10-10 because neither man gets a significant advantage in the striking exchanges thus the round is considered a draw.
MMA throws a wrench into the works with the addition of one combatant being able to take the other down and control them from the mat thus it’s much harder for a round to be considered a draw.
Athletic commissions are of the belief that each round of a bout should have a clear winner who is awarded ten points and a clear loser who is awarded nine points or less depending on the round.
UFC’s Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Marc Ratner recently spoke out in an interview with Fighters Only magazine stating that 10-10 rounds should not exist.
“You shouldn’t score 10-10 rounds because you’re supposed to be a professional judge and if you’re a real judge you can tell the difference between who is more effective.” Ratner says.
But is this just an out dated way of thinking? The biggest misconception I have found when it comes to this issue is the belief that scoring a 10-10 round leaves you on in the camp without an opinion.
In my opinion it’s the complete opposite of that, scoring a 10-10 round is saying that neither man did enough to deservingly win this round therefore it will be considered a draw.
Another key reason for the scoring of even rounds being discouraged in the most necessary of instances is to avoid a high level of draws taking place, especially in MMA when most bouts are contested under three rounds the likelihood of a draw is huge.
However, on our first event of the year we had Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard fight to a rightful draw in their UFC Lightweight title bout which will only create more interest in their rubber match.
To examine this further I want to look at some examples of rounds that can be considered 10-10 rounds.
First up is one of the more controversial and discussed decisions for the year or 2010, the UFC 123 main event between former UFC Light-Heavyweight Champions Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida colliding.
The opening round of the bout most people scored for Machida due to his effective work with leg kicks to set up combinations but some sources scored it for Rampage due to his aggressiveness and the final round unquestionably was scored in favor of Machida with some going as far as giving him the round 10-8.
The round in the middle is the one in question, Machida opened up using his jab to keep the former title carrier at bay before Jackson charged forward to initiate the clinch but after neither man getting an advantage or doing anything of significance referee Herb Dean separated them.
Back on the feet, each man was seemingly feeling the other out with nobody landing any significant strikes before Jackson initiated a clinch once again before securing a take down on the Brazilian but Machida is quickly back to his feet.
Machida initiated a clinch right away this time around but once again nothing of significance was done while tied up.
After a short exchange on the feet they tied up in the clinch once again with Machida working for a sweep to seemingly steal the round but Jackson was able to remain standing to close out the round.
According to the stats provided by Fight Metric.com Jackson landed 28 strikes as oppose to Machida’s 11 strikes. However, Jackson landed 7 significant strikes as oppose to the 8 landed by Machida.
This is a round that could logically be scored a 10-10, most of the round was contested in the clinch against the cage with neither man getting the edge and in striking exchanges Jackson was the more efficient striker however it’s the more effective striker that win’s the fight according to the unified rules.
The next fight we’ll look at is the WEC Lightweight Championship bout that was widely considered to be the best fight of 2009 between Ben Henderson and Donald Cerrone.
Nearly everyone scored rounds two and three for Henderson and rounds four and five for Cerrone with some giving Cerrone a 10-8 round in the final frame.
The opening round is the one to look at here, Cerrone opens the round by attempting a head kick before slipping to the mat which Henderson is quick to capitalize on charging towards the Champion attempting to take him down before giving his neck to which Cerrone locked in a brutal looking guillotine choke from a standing position before taking him down to the mat.
When the fight looks to be over after less than a minute of action Henderson somehow gets out of the choke and rolls right into a triangle choke.
Henderson takes advantage of the loose triangle to move to the side where he is able to land a number of hammer fists before “The Cowboy” relinquishes the submission.
As Cerrone attempts to get back to his feet he walks into a guillotine attempt of his own before finishing with a standing head kick attempt.
Henderson and Cerrone begin feeling one another out with Henderson effectively using his leg kick to keep his distance from Cerrone before pushing Cerrone against the cage and collecting a take down.
Henderson lands some hammer fists from the guard of Cerrone while the Champion works great from his back and nearly securing a triangle choke.
Henderson continues to hammer fist and land strikes from top position of the guard of Cerrone before taking his back and landing some strikes from too.
According to Fight Metric.com Cerrone landed 5 significant strikes as oppose to 28 strikes landed by the challenger however Cerrone had 3 near submission attempts as oppose to none for Henderson.
According to their point system both men were awarded 38 points rendering this round a draw.
The opening round of the five round classic which to this day is one of the best bouts in WEC history is a fight that can easily be considered a draw but for different reasons to Machida vs. Rampage.
Rampage vs. Machida can be called a draw because of a lack of effective striking or grappling on behalf of either man whereas this bout is even due to Henderson landing more strikes but Cerrone also nearly finished Henderson with the guillotine in the opening minute.
Those are two solid examples of rounds that could be considered 10-10 rounds. Scoring rounds In this way will ultimately make the US based ten-point-must system a more fair scoring system and maybe have one less thing for the crew to bitch about in The Pit Stop.