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Cecil Peoples: ‘I’m sure the fans who understand the technicalities of the sport agree with the decision too’

After what has become one of the most controversial decisions in UFC history, one of the judges sitting ringside provided his take on the Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio Rua fight.

In an interview with, longtime MMA judge and referee, Cecil Peoples gave his insight on his scoring in favor of Lyoto Machida.

“First of all what you need to understand is that from where the judges are sitting, we get to see things that the fans at home may miss. Mauricio Rua was being aggressive but it wasn’t effective aggressiveness, which is what we as the judges look for when scoring a fight. The way I saw it, Lyoto was landing the more cleaner and damaging strikes throughout the fight – if you take a look at the judging criteria clean strikes are valued more so than the quantity of strikes landed. Although Rua threw a lot of low kicks they were not as damaging as Lyotos diverse attack in the earlier rounds, which is why I scored the first three rounds for Machida. You have to keep in mind we always the favor the fighter who is trying to finish the fight, and leg kicks certainly don’t do that.

“When both fighters are engaged in a striking match what I always look for is the fighter who is being judicious, picking his spots, being accurate and landing the cleaner strikes which ultimately is what Lyoto did more effectively than Rua. Lyoto made Shogun come after him, he determined where the fight took place, which in my opinion constitutes as effective Octagon control. I recognize the fact that Rua did have a few takedown attempts during the course of the fight however Lyoto defended them all successfully which counts as effective grappling in his favor, where as unsuccessful takedown attempts are not scored at all. Therefore going by that criteria, I believe Lyoto won the fight clearly. I’m just glad the other judges on the panel saw it the same way and I’m sure the fans who understand the technicalities of the sport agree with the decision too.”

This is not the first time Peoples has been at the center of a controversial decision, he was one of two judges who scored in favor of Michael Bisping over Matt Hamill at UFC 75. One that many, myself included, believed Hamill won. Peoples, who along with Nelson Hamilton and Marcos Rosales, all scored the Light-heavyweight championship bout, 48-47 in Machida’s direction.

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