On Saturday, August 11, Benson Henderson beat Frankie Edgar via split decision to retain his lightweight title at UFC 150. The judges scored the bout 46-49, 48-47 and 48-47 for the defending champion.
The first thing I heard when the judges' scores were read off was, "That was worse than the Pacquiao-Bradley fight." Those were the words spoken by a man at the table next to me as he got up to leave. As it turned out, he wasn't alone. When I got home, I checked multiple MMA websites and Twitter. From the comments I read, it seemed that many people believed Edgar was robbed. I disagree.
I scored the fight 49-47 for Edgar. I gave the first round to Henderson and rounds two, four, and five to Edgar. I couldn't bring myself to give either fighter the third round and scored it 10-10. However, the real problem here is that the final three rounds were questionable. Judging is so subjective that there were probably multiple results that could have been given for this fight. It was simply too close for anyone to say that it was robbery.
The key round in the entire debate is the third round. I thought it was even, and I'd like to know what the three people sitting at the judges' table saw for two of them to give the round to Henderson. Neither fighter did much to earn the round. I know that the overall strikes were in Henderson's favor, but the difference wasn't noticeable. I've watched that round multiple times now, and I keep coming up with an even 10-10. Other people might disagree, but I simply don't see it.
The rest of the fight was just as close. Henderson took the first round, and the second round was clearly Edgar's. The final two rounds were debatable, but I think Edgar won them. However, the important word here is debatable because neither round was decisive for Edgar. He didn't engage Henderson enough to convince the judges that he deserved the victory. Edgar spent a lot of time picking his shots and counterpunching, but he failed to put pressure on Henderson. He also didn't do much damage to the champion.
While I believe Edgar won, I don't blame the judges for scoring it differently than I did. Too many fans and MMA media members are quick to say that a fighter was robbed simply because the judges didn't see it the way they did. In this case, Edgar lost a close decision to Henderson, but if you take a look at the fight again, I think you'll find that it could have gone either way.