Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller fought in an instant classic at UFC 155, so pitting them against each other again was a no-brainer. Even though Jim Miller won both match-ups, the second victory did not come without controversy. All three judges scored the fight differently. The first judge gave the fight to Lauzon, awarding him rounds 2 and 3. The second judge gave Miller rounds 1 and 3. The last judge gave Miller rounds 1 and 2. These scorecards are all over the place, so let’s go back and see how exactly the judges got these scores and see if they made the right call in awarding the fight to Jim Miller.
The fight starts and Lauzon begins to dictate where the fight is going to take place. Although he has Miller backing up he is eating more punches than he is landing, so about a minute in he goes for the takedown plus submission attempt. Lauzon is in control but doing little to no damage. Miller gets up and tries for a takedown but can’t get it to go. Miller is still landing better strikes than Lauzon.
Lauzon had 2 takedowns and controlled where the fight took place but Miller landed the better strikes. According to the UFC Judging criteria: “If the mixed martial artists spent a majority of a round standing, then: Effective striking is weighed first; Effective grappling is then weighed. And vice versa. By that logic Miller was better on the feet so:
ROUND 1 WINNER: Jim Miller 10-9 That’s what all 3 judges scored it so no controversy so far.
Lauzon starts of the round getting the better of Miller in striking and controlling him on the cage. About halfway through the round Miller starts to find his rhythm again but is taken down by Lauzon. Joe stays on top for the rest of the round while both of them landing effective strikes on each other. While Lauzon never really had Miller in any danger he was clearly the aggressor and did not allow Miller to get back up.
ROUND 2 WINNER: Joe Lauzon 10-9. The first two judges gave the round to Lauzon while the third judge gave it to Miller. I do not know how the third judge could give the round to Miller. He had one good flurry about halfway through and landed some nice strikes on the ground but this round was all Lauzon.
The first minute of round 3 is all Miller. Lauzon may have been rocked because Miller connected very cleanly with a couple hooks. A little less than 2 minutes in Lauzon gets the takedown but does not do much of any damage. Miller gets up but eventually gets a takedown reversed and ends up on his back again. Round ends with Lauzon going for a Hail Mary armbar that Miller escapes as the horn sounds. You have to judge this round just like round 1. Less than 2 minutes of the fight was striking the rest was grappling. So going by the UFC’s judging criteria: if the mixed martial artists spent a majority of a round on the canvas, then: Effective grappling is weighed first; and Effective striking is then weighed. While Miller may have landed the harder strikes in this round, grappling is weighed first and Lauzon was in control while grappling all round.
ROUND THREE WINNER: Joe Lauzon 10-9 awarding him the fight 29-28. The first judge gave this round to Lauzon while the other 2 awarded it to Miller. The only way I see Miller getting this round is from the flurry he had at the beginning which was significant but I believe it was negated by Lauzon being on top for more than half of the round.
So upon further review… the judges got it wrong. Agree to disagree? Desktop website readers, comment below. Mobile site and app readers, comment on Twitter at @mmatorch.
(Abe Ruvalcaba is a new MMATorch contributor who authors the “Upon Further Review” column. He has been an MMA for over six years and it’s become far and away his favorite sport. He is current studying for his Broadcast/Journalism degree and works as an assistant producer at a radio station in Oklahoma City. His passion includes breaking down fights and trying to get into the heads of the fighters and judges to find out their thought process.)