How Does Scoring Work in UFC?

Are you curious about the scoring of a UFC fight? How are points awarded in a UFC fight? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you will learn more about the judging of a UFC fight, the scoring system, and how victories are determined. Let’s get you to the point where you’ll learn about the scoring system of UFC fights. 

UFC fights are usually scored by round. Also, a round can be either 10-9 or, in rare cases, 10-10 or 10-8. The winner of the round receives 10 points, while the loser gets less. At the end of every match, the round scores are combined to provide an overall verdict, such as 29-28 (for a three-round fight). 

However, a one-paragraph overview cannot explain everything there is to know about UFC scoring. You’ve probably got a lot of questions about the UFC scoring system. When deciding on a score, what do judges actually look for? How do they calculate the total number of points? What criteria do they use to determine a draw? What is the distinction between a unanimous and a divided decision?

Well, sit back and relax, guys. The rest of the article will answer all of your questions relating to the scoring system of UFC fights.

Also read: What Is the Best Body Type for MMA?

Basic Knowledge About MMA Scoring

I’ll give you a basic rundown of how the scoring system works in the UFC to get things started. If you’re a mixed martial arts fan, you’re probably well aware of this, and you may move ahead to view the scoring system and the distinctions between unanimous and split judgments. 

So, in general, MMA battles go 3 or 5 rounds. Three referees are always present at the cage side, rating the fight by round. 

After each round, a judge will consider a variety of factors (such as submission attempts, strikes, knockdowns, octagon control, and so on) to decide who is the winner of that round. On the scorecard of that judge, the participant who they believe won the round will receive ten points. 

If the round was extremely close, the judge might choose to call it a draw and award both fighters 10 points; the other competitor will get less than ten points. I should inform you that at least one boxer must get ten points unless the referee deducts a point for a foul. 

The judge usually gives the losing opponent a nine, so round scores wind up 10-9. If the round winner was quite dominant throughout the round, the judge might score that round 10-8. The variations between 10-10, 10-8, and 10-9 are discussed further in this article.

To demonstrate how battle scores work, I’ll walk you through a fictional scenario. Let’s suppose Fighter (A) is in a three-round fight with Fighter (B).

Fighter (A), according to Judge 1, won all 3 rounds handily. That means he gave Fighter (A) a 10-9 win in each of the rounds. A judge’s three-round scores are totaled separately at the ending of a fight. So, after calculating the total each 10-9, Judge 1 gives Fighter (A) a cumulative score of 30-27. 

Let’s say Judges 2 and 3 both felt Fighter A had won two rounds, while Fighter B had won the third. This implies that Fighter A won rounds 1 and 2 by 10-9, but Fighter B won round 3 by a score of 9-10.

Fighter A has a score of 29, whereas Fighter B has a total score of 28. (according to the fictional judges). Judge 2 and judge 3 had a total score of 29-28 after totaling up the three rounds, which is still supporting Fighter A.

So, if you’re stuck, here are the final results of this fictional fight:

  • Judge 1 gave 30 points to Fighter A and 27 to Fighter B (30-27).
  • Judge 2 gave 29 points to Fighter A and 28 to Fighter B (29-28).
  • Judge 3 gave 29 points to Fighter A and 28 to Fighter B (29-28)

As a result, Fighter A is the clear winner in this scenario. Fighter B did win a round on two judges’ scorecards, but that doesn’t signify much in the great scale of things.

A Unanimous Verdict occurs when all 3 judges agree on the results of a fight. As you can see, this was a very easy example, but you don’t have to confuse yourself with the new scoring system. Just keep reading the article, and every confusion will be cleared. 

However, let’s go over the criteria judges use to decide which fighter is the winner of the round.

Also read: What Happens When a UFC Fighter Does Not Make Weight?

Scoring Criteria of Judges in UFC Fights

In a nutshell, judges award fighters based on the official Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). To be clear, these factors are ranked in order of importance. The following one is evaluated only if the higher priority one is equally beneficial to both fighters. So, if one fighter decisively out strikes the opponent, that fighter wins the round even without judges taking Octagon control into consideration.

Aggression becomes the deciding factor if the two competitors are evenly matched in terms of striking and grappling. If both competitors are inactive, though, the round will be scored using Octagon control. It is noted in the rules that “this will be an extremely rare event.”

The regulations also provide clear distinctions between what constitutes “effective striking.” It is stated that instant impact striking and grappling surpass cumulative striking and grappling in terms of finishing the match.

Since the present rules were implemented in 2017, the scoring procedures have become more transparent. The terminology used to score rounds other than a 10-9 (10-10, 10-7, and even 10-8) has become more detailed.

Also read: Top 10 Best MMA Fighters With OnlyFans Profiles

Deciding Whether a Round is 10-10, 10-8, or 10-7

Let’s discuss how a judge decides whether it is a 10-10 round, 10-8 round, or 10-7 round.

10-8 Round

In a nutshell, a 10-8 round is given to a fighter who has led the action for an extended period of time and has also affected their opponent with efficient strikes. This is a 10-8 score according to the Unified Rules of MMA. One of the Unified Rules of the MMA State is that the judges shall always assign a score of 10-8 whenever the following criteria are met. Although, a judge must consider giving a 10-8 depending on either impact or dominance.

A judge must score a 10-8 round solely on dominance if the fighter is on the attack and the opponent is always defending, with no counter attacks from the opponent. The fighter should have exhibited effective striking that considerably diminished the opponent’s energy, faith, ability, and spirit for a judge to give a 10-8 depending on the impact. 

10-10 Round

A round can only be given a score of 10-10 when both fighters have the same level of impact, competitiveness, output, and effectiveness. It is very rare to give a 10-10 score to a round. Therefore, most of the judges feel hesitant to give a 10-10 round. The unified rules further state that a round of 10-10 score can be given by a judge’s fair decision and should not be used by a judge as an excuse who is unable to analyze the round correctly. 

10-7 Round

A round of 10-7 score can only be given when a fighter is fully overwhelming his competitor in effective striking. The fighter should be dominant and have a major impact on the fight to the extent it is almost over. Although, only one round with a score of 10-7 has ever occurred in UFC history. 

Also read: 5 Best MMA Backpacks

Different Types of Decisions in UFC Fights

There are three different types of decisions a judge can give on any UFC fight. Those decisions are as follows:

  • Unanimous Decision
  • Majority Decision
  • Split Decision

When a decision isn’t unanimous, it may be incredibly confusing. Therefore I’ll go over each result of an MMA decision in great depth below. 

In simple terms, a Unanimous decision occurs when all the 3 judges agree on one winner. A majority decision occurs when 2 judges choose the same winner, but 1 judge declares it a tie. A Split decision occurs when 2 judges choose the same winner, and the remaining judge chooses another. 

Also read: 5 Best Grappling Dummies for MMA

Is It Possible for A UFC Fight to Finish in A Draw?

Yes, some MMA fights usually end in a draw in rare circumstances. Whenever one judge calls Fighter (A) the winner of the round, the second judge declares Fighter (B) the winner, and the third judge calls it a draw, then a match ends in a draw. This is also known as a Split Draw.

Let’s see a simple example of a Split Draw:

Judge 1: Gives 30 points to Fighter A and 27 to Fighter B (30-27).

Judge 2: Gives 29 points to Fighter A and 28 to Fighter B (29-28).

Judge 3: Gives 29 points to both the Fighters A and B (29-29 Draw).

There are more two types of draw matches in MMA, which are as follow:

  • Majority Draw
  • Unanimous Draw

So that’s all that you need to know about the scoring system of UFC Fights. 

Leave a Comment