UFC 131: Dana White Announces All Main Events To Become Five-Round Contests

There's a ton of news coming out of today's UFC 131 presser, so be sure to follow this StoryStream as we go piece by piece on the news. First up: all main events after UFC 133: Davis vs. Evans will not be contested at five rounds whether or not there is a title on the line. This applies to events airing on pay-per-view, Spike TV as well as Versus. Presumably, although it's not entirely clear, if the main event of a card is scrapped and the co-main is not a title fight, fighters will have the option of deciding whether they want to contest their bout at a three or five-round basis.

Is this is a net positive for the UFC? Mike Fagan explains the benefits of this change:

  • More decisive finishes - From my previous post on the topic, I showed that - in a limited sample size - five round title fights are finished 77% of the time as compared to the MMA average of 67% for three round affairs. More fights avoiding the mysterious hands of the judges the better.
  • Less importance per round - In a three round fight, each round makes up 33% of a judge's score card. A round in a five round bout is only worth 20%. For example, in the Caol Uno/Spencer Fisher fight at UFC 99, if you score the first two rounds (which were very close) to Fisher, Uno has to win a dominant 10-8 third just for a draw. With two additional rounds, Uno would have ample time to make up lost ground (if not finish his opponent).
  • More quality at the top of the cards - I'm an extremist. The more five-round fights, the better. I understand that's a minority position, and unlikely to come to fruition in the event that NSAC opens the five-round door. That said, if the UFC utilizes the five round fight for all main and co-main events, that's potentially 20 additional minutes of high-level MMA. Who can argue with that?
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