I watched UFC on FOX 3 last Saturday in a bar. More specifically, I watched the card in the bar at Buffalo Wild Wings.
This is not an uncommon practice. Back when I lived in Vegas, John Morgan from MMAjunkie.com and I would spend hours at the local Buffalo Wild Wings. You know the show Cheers? BW3 was our Cheers. I'm not kidding—not even a little bit—when I tell you that we spent a good portion of last Christmas at Buffalo Wild Wings.
I've gotten pretty good at watching fights at BW3, even when they refuse to turn the sound on. Or when the bartenders don't even know there is a UFC show scheduled that night, much less a UFC show on free television. That's what happened this time around, but we finally got the television tuned to FOX just in time to see the ref call for Lavar Johnson and Pat Barry to trade heavy, leathery fists.
I say all of this, I guess, to say this: I didn't watch the Josh Koscheck vs. Johny Hendricks fight as closely as I usually do. It just wasn't possible. I didn't see every single solitary second of the fight, and I didn't have my trusty pen and paper to take minute-by-minute notes.
But after watching the conclusion of the third round, I was certain Koscheck had won a close 29-28 decision, mostly because that's how I scored the fight. I thought Josh might even get a 30-27 score here or there, if there were any judges sitting cageside that didn't know what they were watching.
So you can imagine my bewilderment when Hendricks was awarded the win.
Now, I've gone back and watched the fight since Saturday night's wing-and-beer festival ended. And I still find myself coming to the same conclusion: Koscheck won the first and third rounds with more effective striking, and the official numbers from FightMetric—the official supplier of statistics for the UFC—back me up.
In the first round, Hendricks landed 18 significant strikes out of 25 overall landed strikes. Koscheck landed 14 overall strikes, but all were significant. And 16 of Hendricks' strikes were leg kicks, while 11 of Koscheck's strikes were to the head.
Who won this fight?
Now, I'm not a guy who says leg kicks aren't worth anything. They obviously are. But it was also obvious that Koscheck landed the more valuable strikes in the first round, and judge Ricardo Almeida—the only former professional fighter on the panel—agreed with me.
Hendricks dominated the second round—there's no question about that one. And the third round was close enough that it could've gone either way. I'm not here to say this was a blowout by Koscheck, but I do believe he did enough with his strikes to the body and his clinch work in the third round to earn the decision.
This was an interesting fight. With Carlos Condit on the sidelines, waiting for Georges St-Pierre to return in November, Hendricks will have a long time to sit and wait for his promised title shot. Why would Hendricks sit for what will likely be a year or more in the prime of his career? That doesn't make sense.
I'll let Koscheck propose a different idea:
Just watched the fight again.1&3rd round where mine. Maybe a rematch 5 round fight this time? What U say Hindricks?— Josh Koscheck (@JoshKoscheck) May 8, 2012
I like it. Let's make it happen, UFC.