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In Defense of…Diego Sanchez

There’s a lot of talk going on right now about the scoring of last night’s Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida fight. Mike “The Man” Fagan at Bloody Elbow gives us the breakdown being used around lots of communities and the questions being raised:

Without having reviewed the fights, we can safely say Sanchez dominated round one and Guida takes round two based on positional control. Round three is the most contentious with, in my opinion, Diego getting the better of the striking and Guida getting top control late (after escaping a Sanchez back mount attempt) but not doing much damage or any positional advances.
So, you have two things to decide. Did Sanchez dominate the first period enough to warrant a 10-8 score? And who does round three go to?

With his first sentence, he reaffirms the only universal fact agreed upon by all: Diego unquestionably won round one. But then a few words later he claims Clay Guida won round two because of “positional dominance”. That’s something everyone needs to look at; most of the round was Clay in Diego’s guard (which is usually a ‘dominant position’) but all the effective offense was done by the man on the bottom. When that’s the case, is it really ‘dominant’?

Here’s a rule of thumb that should be used when weighing a dominant position: if you rotate your monitor upside down and the beating looks completely different, then you were wrong the first time. Picture the fighters flipped over: Diego in full mount landing those strikes – everything is the same except they are rotated 180 degrees. You wouldn’t be able to say Diego doesn’t win the round. Clay on the top, ‘dominant’ position was reduced to cowering up and whipping his head around in an attempt to lessen the volume of damage he was taking. He didn’t escape the offense of Diego either since the bell finally put a stop to the elbows. Guida then walked back to his corner looking like his face was menstruating. It’s illogical to give Guida round two. If you’re on top and the person on the bottom does this to you, then you’re doing it wrong and you aren’t dominating anything:

There should be no discussion about weather Diego won round two. This was literally the case of a guy on the bottom doing massive damage while the guy on top did almost nothing, let alone anything effective. Even if you want to argue semantics, take a look at the official UFC judging criteria and its order:

Sanchez’ striking was more effective, his grappling was better with the repeated high guard and armbar attempts, and he was absolutely more aggressive. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Fight Metric report for round two:

Guida was smashed and torn open while he was in the ‘dominant position’. Some gave him the round and the fight as a result. It’s an absolute travesty that sites are trying to propagate this fight as being controversial, with Diego “eek”ing out the win. Was it close? Not really. Round one was 10-8 for Sanchez. He almost got both the Cote/McFedries and Williams/Coleman stoppages in the first round. Clay’s only offense – a takedown – was duplicated by Diego and used to create more offense. Round two was Diego battering Guida from the bottom. Round three had Diego lock in a full arm-triangle under the neck and everything along some more elbows, which I believe should weigh heavier than three (I counted) winging right hooks and one single takedown.

Either way, Clay had no answer for the first two rounds and would be lucky to have someone give him a 10-10 in the third.