Last night’s split decision victory for Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson against Lyoto Machida at UFC 123 was somewhat controversial, with a number of people believing that ‘The Dragon’ had done enough to secure a victory.
It was certainly an extremely close fight with only the third round clearly in Machida’s favor. The first and second were much closer and could have fallen either way.
After the fight Rampage’s reaction appeared to tell it’s own story as he appeared shocked when the judges handed him the decision and then verbally agreed to a rematch with the Brazilian, admitting, “I feel like he whooped my ass.”
At the post-fight press conference Dana White had a different stance. He bullishly agreed with the judges decision and shut down the idea of a rematch, believing that Jackson had won fair and square.
Even Rampage appeared to have cooled on the idea, noting that he was too caught up in the fight to really judge who won, but that both his trainers and Dana appeared to think he had won.
So who did actually win the fight? It’s the kind of bout that’s going to invite arguments from both sides, but the most neutral position comes via the actual stats like those provided by Fightmetric.
According to their statistical summary of the fight Rampage threw more strikes overall in both rounds one and two (26-16, 28-11) but significantly Machida landed the more effective blows in each round by 12-5 in the first and 8-7 in the second, with Machida dominating the third with more strikes, 26-16, and more signficant blows, 13-4.
Based on the traditional 10 point must scoring system Fightmetric see the fight as a 29-29 draw. However based purely on their own stats they believe Machida to be the winner, with an overall effectiveness score of 162-68 over Rampage.
With White’s mind seemingly adamant that a rematch won’t take place this data is unlikely to change his mind. The best thing Machida can do now is to take note of the fact that he has now been involved in two razor thin decisions in his past three fights and work to fine-tune his strategy further to ensure that if his bouts go a decision in future that the judges are in no doubt about who should have their hand raised at the end.