Following each UFC event, The MMA Corner will dive into the decision victories on the card and grade the performance of the event’s official judges. In this edition, we take a look at UFC on Fox 12 which took place Saturday, July 26, in San Jose, Calif.

No matter how hard fans hope for a world where judges’ decisions don’t frustrate the masses, the simple fact is that controversial decisions come with the territory. Judges can only call it the way they see it from their seat, but there are times when they slip up and either miss the obvious, fail to pay attention or ultimately prove their inexperience by awarding the fight to the wrong individual.

It was a busy night in San Jose, as nine of the night’s 12 bouts went the distance. Only one verdict was split, but that didn’t mean there weren’t some questionable scorecards handed in by the California judges.

The first need for scorecards came in the first fight of the night between featherweights Nohad Lahat and Steven Siler. Lahat used multiple takedowns in the opening round. In round two, Siler started to find his range, but Lahat again took the fight to the mat and threatened with a triangle choke. The final round was all Siler, as he doubled up Lahat’s striking output and had the Israeli fighter’s back for half the round. All three judges properly handed in 29-28 scorecards in favor of Lahat.

The California judges would get little reprieve for the remainder of the prelims. The women’s strawweight contest between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Juliana Carneiro Lima was the next to go the distance. The Polish fighter Jedrzejczyk largely dominated Lima from the opening bell, preventing the Brazilian from getting the fight to the ground. Lima failed on all nine takedown attempts in the opening frame and quickly emptied her gas tank. Jedrzejczyk turned up her striking output in rounds two and three, cruising past Lima. Judges Mike Guingona and Marcos Rosales rewarded Jedrzejczyk with all three rounds, while judge Derek Cleary gave Lima the first round. While Lima was unable to get the fight to the mat, her repeated attempts did dictate the pace of the round, so Cleary’s scorecard wasn’t a total travesty.

Welterweights Gilbert Burns and Andreas Stahl engaged in a very close, back-and-forth battle. Sweden’s Stahl outlanded Burns 33-19 on the feet in the opening frame, but Burns was able to secure a takedown and landed the more significant shots—including one that appeared to break Stahl’s nose. The momentum continued to shift toward the Brazilian in round two, as Burns edged ahead in the striking department and again scored a takedown. The final stanza was all Burns, as he nearly doubled up Stahl on the feet. All three judges handed in 29-28 tallies for Burns, but sadly, judge Brandon Saucedo turned in a head scratcher. Although giving Burns the first round for scoring a takedown and landing the more effective striking can be justified, Saucedo’s 10-9 score for Stahl in round two is tougher to explain. Thankfully, judges Rosales and Wade Vierra scored the fight correctly to avoid any controversy.

In the final Fight Pass prelim, Brazilian Tiago “Trator” dos Santos e Silva edged out Mexico’s Akbarh Arreola. Trator outlanded Arreola in every round, but Arreola kept the first round close with a late takedown. Arreola also did a good job of countering Trator’s kicks in round two, but he could not match the Brazilian’s output. Trator increased his striking advantage in each round, edging Arreola by 5, 27 and 36 strikes respectively. In the end, it added up to nearly a three-to-one edge for the Brazilian. Judges Ed Collantes and Rosales gave Trator all three rounds, while judge Guingona scored the opening frame for Arreola. Based on the stats, round one could have gone either way, depending on how much emphasis is put on the late takedown.

On the televised portion of the undercard, welterweight Tim Means survived the early onslaught of Brazilian Hernani Perpetuo to claim the last two rounds and claim the decision. Perpetuo came out very aggressive, throwing nearly twice as many strikes in the opening stanza and preventing Means from finding a rhythm. That pace zapped Perpetuo’s stamina, and Means found his range in the final two rounds. Means patiently picked the Brazilian apart, rocking him with a left straight in the middle frame. Again, the judges were on point, as all three correctly handed in 29-28 scorecards in favor of Means.

The only debate in the light heavyweight bout between Patrick Cummins and Kyle Kingsbury is how many 10-8 rounds Cummins deserved. The fight was one-way traffic in favor of the wrestle throughout. Cummins earned 11 takedowns over the course of the fight and outlanded Kingsbury 115-22. Despite the clear domination, all three California judges managed to botch the fight. Judge Michael Bell inexplicably scored the fight 30-27 for Cummins. Judge Collantes gave Cummins 10-8 rounds in rounds one and three, when round two was the most lopsided round of the fight. Finally, judge Rosales gave Cummins a 10-8 score in all three rounds. Kingsbury generated little or no offense during the fight, but Cummins was unable to finish. The 30-27 and 30-24 scorecards are the opposite ends of the spectrum. Judge Bell showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the scoring criteria, while judge Rosales may have gotten a little overzealous. The 30-25 scorecard by judge Collantes is not any better, as he’s guilty of incorrectly scoring rounds one and two. The only good news from this mess is that Cummins was correctly declared the winner.

Lightweights Jorge Masvidal and Daron Cruickshank engaged in a back-and-forth fight that set up a couple of interesting situations for the judges. Cruickshank dropped Masvidal with a huge right hand early in the fight, but Masvidal dominated the remainder of the round. The knockdown was enough for all three judges to score the round for Cruickshank. Round two was a very different story, as Masvidal got the fight to the ground and battered Cruickshank by a 44-6 tally. Masvidal nearly ended the fight with a D’arce choke in that round. He carried that momentum into the third, again significantly outlanding Cruickshank on the mat. The dominant second stanza earned a 10-8 scorecard from judge Vierra, but judges Cleary and Rosales scored it 10-9. Given how close Masvidal came to finishing and how much time he spent in control, judge Vierra’s score is justifiable.

The closest fight of the night went to the lightweight clash between former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson and Bobby Green. Green controlled the center of the cage and stalked Thomson throughout. Thomson looked to land counter shots, but his output was noticeably less than Green. Green outlanded Thomson 18-12 in round one, 23-18 in round two, and 22-15 in round three. Thomson scored the fight’s lone takedown in the middle frame, which likely tipped the frame in his favor. Judges Collantes and Vierra gave Green rounds one and three, while judge Bell gave Thomson rounds one and two. Even with Green’s advantage on the stat sheet, the fight was razor-close and it’s hard to be overly critical of any of the judges in this one.

In the night’s main event, former title challenger Robbie Lawler punched his way past Matt Brown to earn another crack at champion Johny Hendricks. Lawler came out landing clean combinations to claim the opening stanza, despite Brown scoring with a brief takedown. Brown rebounded in the second frame, scoring with nearly twice as many strikes, as well as another takedown. The middle round saw Lawler start to distance himself from Brown, landing 21 strikes to 11 from Brown. Lawler again outlanded Brown in round four, but added in two takedowns. Brown went for broke in the final frame and outlanded Lawler once again, but it was too little, too late. Judge Cleary gave Brown the first two rounds, clearly swayed by Brown’s takedowns. Judges Bell and Vierra gave Lawler the opening frame. All three judges gave Lawler the final three rounds and the fight.

It was a busy night in San Jose, and there is plenty of evidence to show that the California judges have room to improve, but the event was largely free from controversy. Judges Cleary and Vierra were the most consistent and accurate judges of the night, while judge Bell had a night to forget.

Judges’ Grades

Michael Bell – D (Noad Lahat vs. Steven Siler, Tim Means vs. Hernani Perpetuo, Patrick Cummins vs. Kyle Kingsbury, Bobby Green vs. Josh Thomson, Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown)

Derek Cleary – A (Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Juliana Carneiro Lima, Tim Means vs. Hernani Perpetuo, Jorge Masvidal vs. Daron Cruickshank, Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown)

Ed Collantes – B- (Noad Lahat vs. Steven Siler, Tiago dos Santos e Silva vs. Akbarh Arreola, Patrick Cummins vs. Kyle Kingsbury, Bobby Green vs. Josh Thomson)

Mike Guingona – B+ (Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Juliana Carneiro Lima, Tiago dos Santos e Silva vs. Akbarh Arreola)

Marcos Rosales – B (Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Juliana Carneiro Lima, Gilbert Burns vs. Andreas Stahl, Tiago dos Santos e Silva vs. Akbarh Arreola, Patrick Cummins vs. Kyle Kingsbury, Jorge Masvidal vs. Daron Cruickshank)

Brandon Saucedo – C+ (Noad Lahat vs. Steven Siler, Gilbert Burns vs. Andreas Stahl)

Wade Vierra – A (Gilbert Burns vs. Andreas Stahl, Tim Means vs. Hernani Perpetuo, Jorge Masvidal vs. Daron Cruickshank, Bobby Green vs. Josh Thomson, Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown)

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