It wasn’t long after Paddy Pimblett won his UFC 282 fight against Jared Gordon by unanimous decision that the cries of “robbery” rang out across social media from, well, many fans, fighters, pundits and media members. With that, it’s time to dive into the scoring of UFC 282’s co-main event.
For background on the “Scouring the Scoring” series and details on the review process, GO HERE.
The first thing one needs to do in scoring a fight is mute the commentary. Biases can seep into commentary and even worse, the UFC commentary team sometimes provides incorrect information as to the scoring criteria, which can influence those who hear it. The second thing one needs to do is get familiar with the prioritized criteria in MMA scoring — especially the first criteria, which is “effective striking/grappling.”
“Legal blows that have immediate or cumulative impact with the potential to contribute towards the end of the match with the IMMEDIATE weighing in more heavily than the cumulative impact. Successful execution of takedowns, submission attempts, reversals and the achievement of advantageous positions that produce immediate or cumulative impact with the potential to contribute to the end of the match, with the IMMEDIATE weighing more heavily than the cumulative impact.”
It shall be noted that a successful takedown is not merely a changing of position, but the establishment of an attack from the use of the takedown.
The official scoring from Pimblett vs. Gordon:
I scored the first round 10-9 for Gordon based on effective striking. While Pimblett did land some heavy leg kicks, they did not outweigh the punches Gordon connected on. Gordon was especially effective in landing several left hooks and one right hook that caught Pimblett on the chin.
Pimblett was active, but he had a hard time piercing the guard of Gordon in this round. He did connect with one uppercut and a right hook that managed to sneak around Gordon’s guard, but overall, Gordon landed the more effective strikes. Did those blows contribute towards the end of the match as per the scoring criteria? They didn’t do so immediately, as Pimblett was never on shaky legs, nor did he lose focus (figuratively or literally). Still, Gordon landed the type of strikes that fell under the “cumulative impact” heading.
As for the takedown and what followed on the ground near the end of the round, that didn’t contribute much, if anything, toward the scoring. Gordon was in Pimblett’s guard and he landed nothing significant from the top position. As for Pimblett, he did not threaten with a submission or land any notable strikes from the bottom.
Depending on the position of the judges in this round, the perception might be that Pimblett landed effective blows. He was active in his strikes, but most of Pimblett’s punches were either fully or partially blocked, which was clear to me, as I had multiple camera angles and the ability to slow things down frame-by-frame and look for the connection. Unfortunately, MMA judges do not have that luxury.
Round 1: Jared Gordon 10-9 over Paddy Pimblett
Round 2 of the Pimblett vs. Gordon scrap was close. However, I scored it 10-9 in favor of Gordon.
Pimblett started strong, but I noticed as the round played out that, more often than not, when Pimblett scored, Gordon returned fire and landed a more impactful blow.
Gordon’s best work in this round came with less than two minutes left. He connected with a big right in the clinch and followed that in the next thirty seconds with a left hook, an overhand right and a counter right after a missed Pimblett uppercut. The flurry in the final 30 seconds was fun, but it was mostly a wash regarding scoring.
There was some grappling to consider in this round, but the choke Pimblett attempted was never locked in and it did not register as a submission attempt. Therefore it didn’t help him.
Again, a close round, but one I awarded to Gordon.
Round 2: Jared Gordon 10-9 over Paddy Pimblett
Of all three rounds, I think the third was the hardest to score, simply because there wasn’t all that much to score. Gordon had a lot of control time, but none of that time could be classified as “effective grappling.” He did not meet the criteria of “Successful execution of takedowns, submission attempts, reversals and the achievement of advantageous positions,” during that control time.
Meanwhile, Pimblett was on the defensive for most of the round. He spent most of the five minutes fighting to stay on his feet or with his back stuck to the cage.
There were not many strikes attempted in this round, but the more effective striking came from Pimblett. He landed knees and elbows from the clinch.
I would award the round to Pimblett based on the few strikes that did land, but that was a tough call.
Round 3: Paddy Pimblett 10-9 over Jared Gordon
Was it a robbery?
Before I address the “robbery” question let me say that with just a bit more defense and the inclination to tuck his chin, therefore providing a smaller target, Pimblett might have won this fight on my card. His willingness to fight with his chin in the air might show off his ability to take a punch and keep fighting, but it works against him in a big way when it comes to scoring a fight. A competitor with a high guard wouldn’t have taken the full force of the punches Pimblett took from Gordon. That visual hurt Pimblett in a big way, because Gordon landed the more flush and impactful strikes — the type of blows that go toward the cumulative end of a contest.
Do I think the wrong fighter won? Yes. Would I call it a close fight? Yes. Would I call it a robbery? No. Again, I (and I would say 99.99 percent of the others who scored this fight) have multiple camera angles and replay to consider. I also have the ability to go frame-by-frame if I so desire to see just how impactful a strike was. What I’m not doing is scoring from a static spot at cageside with a view that might not allow me to see the complete picture of just how each attempted strike plays out. I’m not making excuses for the judges here. I’m stating facts, facts that those who throw “robbery” around often would do well to consider.
Final score: Jared Gordon 29-28 over Paddy Pimblett.
Final thoughts: Not a robbery, but a close fight.