Judges shall evaluate mixed martial arts techniques, such as effective striking, effective grappling, control of the fighting area, effective aggressiveness and defense.
Evaluations shall be made in the order in which the techniques appear, giving the most weight in scoring to effective striking, effective grappling, control of the fighting area and effective aggressiveness and defense.
Effective striking is judged by determining the number of legal strikes landed by a contestant and the significance of such legal strikes.Effective grappling is judged by considering the amount of successful executions of a legal takedown and reversals. Examples of factors to consider are take downs from standing position to mount position, passing the guard to mount position, and bottom position fighters using an active, threatening guard.
The passage above is from the unified rules in regards to scoring effective striking and grappling, which are the two most important credentials when determining who won a fight. When prioritizing whether striking or grappling comes first, the location of the fight must be taken into account; meaning that if the majority of the time was spent on the feet exchanging, then effective striking becomes the top criterion, and vice-versa when more time is spent on the ground.
After watching the fight for the first time, I had the score as one round apiece for each fighter going into the third. With no clear-cut winner in the final frame, each competitor being able to impose his will and mount offense in their respective areas of competency while sufficiently defending their opponent's offense, and roughly equal time spent striking and grappling--I felt strongly that a draw was not only a viable option, but the correct one.
I've re-watched the fight with the intention of detailing how each fighter performed in each category and to pay closer attention to the actual time spent standing and striking versus dueling on the canvas to extract which criterion should be favored the highest. Below is the round-by-round breakdown and my interpretation of how the unified rules should be applied.
Melvin attempts a flying knee that's nowhere close, throws a punch and a left high kick that are fully blocked. Torres nails a takedown at 4:45, and quickly advances to side control for offensive grappling points. Melvin gets back to his feet at 3:55, giving Torres 50 seconds of ground time. Melvin lands a jab, Torres counters with a 1-2, and then gets ahold of Melvin and takes him down again at the 3:30 mark in half-guard. Melvin gives his back, and Torres tries to secure hooks but Melvin reverses and ends up on top. Melvin scores here with effective defense for the reverse. Torres angles for an armbar, and Melvin slides out and is back on his feet at 3:01; registering more momentum for Torres "using an active, threatening guard" while Melvin evens out the octagon control of Torres' takedowns by bringing the fight back to standing, with another 30 seconds of grappling time for a total of 1:20.
Melvin lands a hard leg kick, and whiffs with a high kick. Torres charges and connects with a straight right, and then throws a flying knee that is blocked and only partially lands. Melvin tries a spinning back fist that Torres evades, and then Torres counters a Guillard-combination with another stiff 1-2 that lands, marking effective defense on the feet (just as Melvin showed on the ground) and equalizing the aggression factor. Torres shoots, and Melvin unleashes a quick flying knee that connects soundly to the head/shoulder area, but Torres is unfazed and keeps driving for the takedown, eventually getting it at 1:50 after pressing Melvin against the fence. Torres stays busy with distracting strikes from the top, then postures up and lands some legit GnP. Melvin works back to his feet with 25 seconds left, giving Torres an additional 1:25 on the ground, which totals 2:45 so far on the mat. Torres lands a good combination after Melvin escapes. Melvin attacks with a right straight/left hook, the latter landing, but Torres pops him a left hook of his own, and the round ends.
Summary: It's interesting that the time grappling versus striking is almost perfectly even, but slightly more time was spent on the canvas. With Torres snaring three takedowns, getting in some decent GnP, passing guard, and landing a decent number of solid shots on the feet--I score the first round as I did originally with a 10-9 for Torres.
Torres throws a straight front kick, then Melvin attacks with a telegraphed flying knee that Torres reads well and answers with a strong left hook that connects, and then chases the retreating Guillard and throws a left hook/right straight combo that lands but is blocked. Torres shoots, and Melvin defends well, and the odd scenario where Torres lifts Melvin's high on the cage ensues, and Melvin actually illegally hooks his arm over the top of the cage to prevent the slam from Torres. Because of the cage-assistance, Melvin lands on his feet and quickly sprawls to avoid the takedown. Melvin's high-kick is blocked again, and Torres circles out to avoid another charging combination from Melvin. Melvin then explodes with a 1-2 and connects with the "2". Front kick by Melvin, then Torres sneaks a jab through, then cleanly lands a sharp left hook, forcing Melvin to reset. Torres shoots, and Melvin responds with a hard knee on his way in, but Torres shakes it off and pursues the takedown, eventually lifting Melvin for a throw that Melvin is able to counter and escape from.
Melvin has avoided the ground thus far, evaded a few takedown attempts, and landed the better strikes on the feet; putting him in the driver's seat for the round thus far. Melvin lands a good kick to the body, then follows up with a few punches that partially land. Melvin then pulls out the sweet left low kick to immediate right straight that snaps Torres' head back. Melving tries the same combo, but Torres is prepared and ties him up, but Melvin counters with a knee and the fighters exchange against the fence before moving into open area. Torres is still staying in the pocket and twice lands his left hook counter as Melvin initiates exchanges. Melvin throws a leg kick that Torres anticipates, pushes Melvin against the fence and takes his back standing, and Melvin executes a nice forward roll but ends up in half-guard with Torres on top for the first grappling of the round. Torres grabs a legit kimura and rolls to wrench on it, and Melvin stays patient and powers out to find himself on top in Torres' high guard. Melvin throws some half-hearted GnP that is easily blocked, but then throws a flying right hand over the butt-scooting Torres that lands as the bell sounds.
Summary: Although far from a 10-8, this is just a solid, commanding round for Guillard who is able to land harder, better, and a higher number of strikes while neutralizing most of Torres' offense and takedowns. Torres still got him down and attempted a submission while staying active and aggressive on the feet and landing punches. This is a bulletproof 10-9 for Guillard making the 3rd and final round the fulcrum for the entire fight.
Both fighters exchange a few uneventful blows, then Melvin connects on a stout overhand right. Torres ducks under a Guillard left hook and shoots, but Melvin displays a textbook sprawl and pushes him away. 30 seconds in, Guillard is slightly ahead for landing a few shots and avoiding the takedown (striking and defense). Torres stays aggressive with a 3-punch combo, and then once again plants a left hook counter as Melvin throws. Quick jabs from Melvin, then a low kick, then Torres responds with a left hook, and Melvin answers with a fast right hand. Torres flails a right that partially gets through, and interestingly enough, even though Melvin is landing more, it's Torres that is now pressing forward and landing strikes with Melvin now playing the role of the counterstriker (aggression for Torres and some credit for octagon control, while Melvin is in control of striking and effective defense).
Torres snags a leg and trips Guillard's other to get his first takedown into half-guard at 3:12, and he immediately transitions to full side-control to start accumulating points, offense, and time spent grappling. Torres stays busy with distracting GnP, and secures Melvin when he tries to scramble free. Decent GnP and short elbows from the top from Torres, then Guillard traps Torres' right arm with his legs, and occupies his attention enough to slip out and stand up at 1:52 for a total grappling time of 1:20. Body kick from Guillard is blocked, but a jab lands. Torres responds with a very nice left hook/straight right, both of which connect solidly. Melvin with a stiff right, and good defense as Torres ducks under for the takedown, Melvin scrambles free but Torres is relentless and pins Melvin on the fence and executes his second successful takedown with 1:15 remaining. It's worth noting that at this point, Torres is the aggressor and should be rewarded for octagon control for both his advancement on the feet and bringing the fight to the ground, while Melvin gets the points for striking and effective defense by negating Torres' earlier takedown attempt.
Torres traps Melvin's right leg with both of his legs and prevents the wall-walk, and he spends more time securing Melvin than mounting offense in the final minute of the fight. Melvin stands up with about 8 seconds left, and Torres hoists him up and slams him down, but Guillard quickly scrambles and ends up in the mount and lands 3-4 punches as Torres is reversing him, and the bell sounds. This adds another 1:07 to the grappling time, making the total 2:27 on the mat.
Summary: Total grappling time turns out to be approximately 2:27, which is a mere 3 seconds away from being the exact median of a 5 minute round. Since it's just not realistic for the judges to keep exact time like this, an extra 3 seconds standing should not launch striking into the almighty top category, and I'm assuming this is a classic example where the fight was evenly divided in both striking and grappling. This means the top two priorities either negate each other, or should be given equal emphasis; i.e. "a draw".
Effective striking: Guillard
Effective grappling: Torres
Priority based on the time and location of the fight: equal (2:27 grappling, 2:33 striking/standing). Both fighters also showed no signs of visible damage from either fighter's offense, and were able to equally defend and mount offense of their own.
Octagon Control: even. Guillard countered the takedown with effective striking once, and Torres took Melvin down once and mounted offense, and then again briefly with the slam, but ended up eating some punches.
Definition: "Fighting area control is judged by determining who is dictating the pace, location and position of the bout. Examples of factors to consider are countering a grappler’s attempt at takedown by remaining standing and legally striking (Guillard once); taking down an opponent to force a ground fight (Torres once and arguably twice); creating threatening submission attempts, passing the guard to achieve mount, and creating striking opportunities."
Aggression: Torres surprisingly gets this category for the 3rd round by a small margin. Even though Melvin was landing more effectively on the feet (effective striking), Torres was the one moving forward and pressing the action.
Definition: "Effective aggressiveness means moving forward and landing a legal strike or takedown."
Effective defense: because Melvin became the counterpuncher on the feet, he wins the point for effective defense, but these last two categories are the lowest priorities on the totem pole.
Definition: "Effective defense means avoiding being struck, taken down or reversed while countering with offensive attacks."
The Overall Verdict
Draw! The two most important credentials for determining who wins the fight are split evenly, almost to the exact second. The next most important criteria is also dead even, with octagon control being shared equally. The last and least vital categories are divided with Torres winning aggression and Melvin winning effective defense.
Unless your interpretation of the unified rules is that the fight should or could be swayed entirely in one fighter's direction because he won the 4th category while his opponent won the 5th, while the three most critical sections were dead-even; or that the final 8 seconds of the fight were more important than the it's entirety--then this fight is a textbook draw.
Let's see what the unified rules outline for the scoring of a 10-10 round versus a 10-9 round:
"1. A round is to be scored as a 10-10 Round when both contestants appear to be fighting evenly and neither contestant shows dominance in a round;
2. A round is to be scored as a 10-9 Round when a contestant wins by a close margin, landing the greater number of effective legal strikes, grappling and other maneuvers."
10-10: Did either fighter show dominance in the third round? No. Were the contestants "fighting evenly"? I don't know how the answer could conceivably be anything but "absolutely". Guillard got the better of the exchanges on the feet for almost exactly one-half of the fight; Torres took Guillard down and kept him there while mounting offense for almost exactly the other half of the fight.
10-9: Did either contestant "win by a close margin"? Not according to the unified rules. Melvin clearly wins the striking, and Torres clearly wins the grappling, and neither category is weighed more heavily than the other because there were equal amounts of time spent in each of the top categories. The only shreds of evidence that are unequal are the additional 3 seconds that the fight took place on the feet (out of a total of 300 seconds in a 5-minute round, making the difference exactly 1%).
MMA is an emphatically dynamic sport, a statement that is strengthened by the realistic difficulties of extracting a winner when the rules are plainly laid-out and defined, even with the convenient ability to rewind and re-watch individual segments; because of this truth, it can make fans tear their hair out with frustration over their perception of poor decisions, but it can also offer an opportunity for fights to be placed under a microscope and scored by anyone who can interpret the unified rules logically.
This is my interpretation. I would love for anyone to comment on this analysis, refute my observations with those of their own while adhering to the results of the fight, and govern their opinions with the guidelines of the unified scoring criteria.