I may be alone here in thinking that the UFC's new 5-round main event policy is a big blow to MMA.
It's established that the UFC is the big league, if you watch your first MMA fight it's likely going to be a UFC fight. If you're watching it live, the main event is the pinnacle of the card and what you're going to remember the most.
Five rounds is too many. Twenty-five minutes of fighting won't mean more excitement, it means the same amount drawn out thinner. There's no athlete who can go at 100% for that long. Your mentality changes in a fight that long, you need to be very conservative and the remaining balance of the round looms over the fighters head anytime he's utilizing energy to be explosive.
Sure there are fights that make you want two more rounds - but if they originally started as five round fights the action would have been much different. And likely, the additional two rounds would be robbed of the excitement as a result of the exhaustion from the first three. A fight that was originally exciting for three rounds could be -overall - viewed as dull if the remaining two rounds aren't exciting.
- Imagine Korean Zombie vs. Garcia going two more rounds with both fighters exhausted, unwilling to engage. It would never have been fight of the year.
- If Griffin vs. Bonnar I had gone two more rounds and they were as inactive as round 3 of Falcao vs. Harris... would MMA be what it is today?
My proposal is not unlike the Pride rules, but more practical in my opinion:
Two 5-minute rounds. One 2.5 minute round, for 12.5 minutes total.
The 2.5 minutes will give a sense of urgency to whoever is losing the fight. And if the winner is playing it safe and not engaging, it's less time to sit through. It'll bring back the much needed "sense of urgency" that the unified rules don't encourage.
One consideration to help judging is to make the 2.5 minute round a 5-point must round. It will help eliminate draws due to a 10-8 round.
For title fights, three 5 minute rounds and one 2.5 minute round.
to encourage a sense of urgency, have two 5 minute rounds and one 1.5 minute round. The third round can be worth a maximum of 5 points to discourage draws due to 10-8.