Fightmetric Data Suggests BJ Penn Should Have Won

Last night Frankie Edgar produced a major upset when he was awarded a unanimous decision victory over lightweight champion BJ Penn, but did the judges get it right?

Edgar certainly put on a strong performance against one of the sports pound-for-pound best, but as I noted in the post-fight report last night, I scored the bout in favor of Penn by 48-47.

From my point of view it was an extremely close fight in which BJ Penn’s accurate work with his jab helped him edge out Edgar in the first three rounds.  The Hawaiian seemed to tire in the fourth and fifth rounds though, while Edgar showed tremendous stamina to keep up his work rate for the full 25 minutes, which was enough for me to give him the final two rounds.

Again as I mentioned last night the key round for me was the third – it was so close that I wouldn’t have argued strongly against either fighter getting the nod, and so I could also see a case for Edgar winning 48-47.

The judges ringside apparently saw a different fight though, with the verdict slanting much more in favor of Edgar by 50-45, 48-47 and 49-46.

So who’s right?  It’s hard to say for sure as scoring fights is a largely subjective matter, but It’s interesting to note what the Fightmetric report on the fight shows.

Their analysis suggests that BJ Penn won the fight by 49-47.  In a fight that was largely waged on their feet the first two rounds their stats clearly show that Penn outstruck Edgar, by 18-10 in the first, and 17-6 in the second.

The third round results also tied in with my own feelings that this was a close call – Penn landed 11 shots to Edgar’s 10.   The fourth round also shows a razor thin margin between the two with Edgar landing 14 times to Penn’s 13.  The final round is all Edgar though as he outstrikes Penn by 23-13 and also scores a valuable takedown into the bargain.

While Fightmetrics data isn’t considered a definitive conclusion on the actual result of a fight, and can at times be off the mark, on this particular occasion it seems to correlate almost exactly with my own post-fight analysis with the exception of the 4th round which I had felt was more definitively in favor of Edgar.

Of course it doesn’t matter now, what’s done is done and Edgar is now the new lightweight champion.  Based on the data though I feel that, if he wants it, it would only be fair to offer BJ Penn an immediate rematch.

Further Reading:

Read judge Doug Crosby’s response to the criticism he received over his 50-45 scorecard here

See BJ Penn’s coach confirm that BJ had a sinus infection and that he would like an immediate rematch here


  1. I scored the fight 48- 47 for penn. The thing that really pisses me off is the judges sh*tty scoring. I mean the fight was close and could have gone both ways but Penn losing 5 rounds is atrocious. If anything it should have been called a draw, something that ufc judges forgot existed.

  2. I agree Erik, I’d love to hear that one judges explanation for giving Edgar all five rounds. He fought well, but he didn’t do that good.

    I think sometimes judges are blinded by work-rate. If a fighter looks busy then it tends to impress people, even if in reality hey are not actually landing much.

    Penn wasn’t as energetic as Edgar, but in the early rounds he was landing the more cleaner, more effective strikes.


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