Monday, August 20, 2012

Scoring Breakdown: Buchecha vs Leo Nogueira At the 2012 Mundials

For this scoring breakdown, I want to look at the finals of the absolute division at this year's Mundials between Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida and Leo Nogueira.

I chose this match not because of any controversy, but because of how well it's scored by Tanquinho, the referee, despite some tricky situations.  I'll make a future post about Tanquinho's penchant for exploiting his rules knowledge as a competitor, but for now I want to focus on learning from him as a referee.

The match starts off kind of slow, but it has an exciting ending.  Here it is, the finals of the Mundials absolute division:

0:28 - Buchecha attempts a suma gaeshi while Nogueira is working a single leg.  A failed sacrifice throw is treated just like pulling guard in that your opponent won't score unless he is controlling a leg or initiating a takedown in some way.  In this case, Nogueira is holding the leg, so Buchecha is taking a gamble.  The risk doesn't pay off and Buchecha ends up down an advantage.

2:08 - Buchecha gives up another advantage attempting the same sacrifice throw.

2:16 - Finally Buchecha lands the suma gaeshi, but Nogueira rolls right back to his knees limiting this sequence to just an advantage.  Unlike the previous two attempts, Nogueira doesn't earn an advantage here because Buchecha's throw was partially successful.

2:22 - Buchecha spins for the back and immediately gets rolled off while trying to get his hooks in.  He gives up his chance to earn two points by not staying on top and stabilizing the position.  When Buchecha finally does end up on top, it's too late, the takedown sequence has ended and he can't earn any points.

In order to score points for the takedown, Buchecha would have needed to remain on top either in a dominant turtle or with Nogueira's butt or back on the mat for three uninterrupted seconds.  By rolling through the bottom position, Buchecha ended the takedown sequence and caused a neutral position.  From neutral, it doesn't matter who ends up on top or bottom, no points will be awarded.

4:25 - Nogueira sweeps from deep half guard and earns two points once he clears the kimura grip.  Even though he isn't in danger of tapping to the kimura, the grip is still considered threatening enough that it must be cleared to score.

6:30 - Nogueira lands another sweep and this time he gets stuck in a triangle.  Once again, he can't actually score until he clears the submission.

Buchecha earns an advantage for the submission attempt.  The main criteria for awarding an advantage for a triangle choke is making sure the legs are fully locked with the foot behind the knee.  Any other leg position isn't enough to score.

7:50 - Nogueira works a guard pass, but Buchecha defends by going to his knees.  Nogueira scores a clear advantage and leads with 4 points and 3 advantages to Buchecha's zero points and 2 advantages.

8:55 - Buchecha tries an omoplata that leads to a serious toehold attempt.  After the resulting scramble, he comes on top and earns two points for the sweep and an advantage for the toehold.  Attacking a foot or leg does not end a sweep sequence, so whenever a footlock scramble happens the referee must remember which athlete started in guard so points can be awarded if he or she ends up on top.

10:32 - Both competitors roll out of bounds trying to footlock each other and Tanquinho awards 2 points to each of them.

Whenever the competitors leave the mat while a submission is locked in, IBJJF rules allow for only two possible results:  Either the defender will be disqualified OR two points are awarded to the attacker and the match will restart standing.  For the safety of the competitors, the match will never be restarted with the submission hold in place, unlike some organizations (ADCC, I'm looking at you...).

The difference between giving up two points and being disqualified comes down to how the submission was defended.  According to the IBJJF rulebook:
When the proper defensive counter for a submission hold results in exiting the match area, the referee shall signal 2 (two)points be awarded to the athlete applying the submission hold.
The key phrase here is "proper defensive counter".  Deliberately fleeing the mat would result in a disqualification, but as long as the defense is technical the referee should allow the match to continue.

11:35 - With the match restarted on the feet, Buchecha scores a last minute takedown for 2 points and ties the score.  Then with just a few seconds left, he passes guard into mount.  Even though time runs out before Buchecha can stabilize the position, he is still awarded an advantage for holding the position for less than three seconds.

Buchecha wins the match and the absolute world championship by a single advantage!  Unlike many other matches at this year's Mundials, this match doesn't suffer from the taint of controversy thanks to solid officiating by Tanquinho.