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A Guide to Watch Muay Thai: How to Score Muay Thai Fights?

This guide delves into the fundamental principles of Muay Thai scoring, shedding light on how fighters can secure those crucial points.

Scoring in Muay Thai competitions is a nuanced art that can make the difference between victory and defeat in the ring. This guide delves into the fundamental principles of Muay Thai scoring, shedding light on how fighters can secure those crucial points.

The blue Muay Thai boxer is kicking, the red Muay Thai boxer is defending

Muay Thai, like many combat sports, employs the 10-Point Must System for scoring rounds. Each round, judges allocate a maximum of 10 points to the fighter they consider the winner. The opponent receives a lower score, typically 9 points or less. To score effectively, one must grasp the criteria used by judges to determine the round winner.

Here is some of the scoring criteria in Muay Thai competition

Clean Strikes 

Judges look for clean and effective strikes, whether they land accurately and with enough force to score points. These can include punches, kicks, knees, and elbows that hit to the opponent’s body without being blocked or partially absorbed. The more precise and impactful the strikes, the higher the score they receive.

Effective Grappling 

Grappling techniques, such as clinching, throws, and sweeps, are also taken into consideration when scoring. Judges look at how effective these moves in controlling the opponent, off-balancing them, or creating opportunities for follow-up attacks. Successful takedowns or throws can significantly contribute to a fighter’s score. In 5 rounds, the judge will look how skillful of two fighters using clinching, throws, and sweeps during close-quarters exchanges with the opponent. 

  • Clinching: Clinching involves grabbing and controlling the opponent’s neck or upper body, often using the arms to establish a strong grip. In the clinch, fighters can execute various techniques such as knee strikes, elbows, and off-balancing maneuvers. It requires a deep understanding of balance, leverage, and timing to gain an advantage and effectively score points or set up strikes.
  • Throws and Sweeps: Fighters can use throws and sweeps to take their opponents off balance and bring them to the ground. These techniques are often used to disrupt the opponent’s rhythm, break their posture, and create opportunities for follow-up attacks. Well-executed throws and sweeps demonstrate a fighter’s technical prowess and can earn them points from the judges.
  • Defense and Escapes: Effective grappling also involves defending against the opponent’s clinch attempts, throws, and sweeps. Skilled fighters know how to maintain their balance and position, making it challenging for their opponents to control them in the clinch. Additionally, knowing how to escape from unfavorable positions can prevent the opponent from scoring or gaining an advantage.

Aggressiveness and Ring Control

Fighters who show more aggression and actively engage their opponents tend to get higher scores. Additionally, controlling the pace of the fight and dictating the ring’s center can also earn points. Being the one to initiate exchanges and maintain pressure on the opponent can demonstrate dominance and influence the judges’ perception of the round.

Two Muay Thai boxers are fighting with each other fiercely

Defensive Skills

While offensive actions are crucial, effective defensive techniques are also valued by judges. Blocking, evading, and countering opponents’ attacks demonstrate skillful defense. These defensive maneuvers can help minimize the impact of the opponent’s strikes and may earn points in the scoring process.

Damage and Knockdowns

Inflicting significant damage on the opponent or scoring a knockdown can heavily influence the scoring of a round. Judges take into account the impact of strikes and how they affect the opponent’s ability to continue effectively. A knockdown, where the opponent falls to the canvas, typically results in an immediate scoring advantage for the fighter who delivered the blow.


Scoring in Muay Thai is an art that combines technical skill, adaptability, and strategy. It’s not solely about knockout power but consistently impressing judges with your performance in each round. From the first round to final round, each individual round is scored independently, and the fighter who accumulates the most points over all the rounds will win the fights. It’s important for participants to be familiar with the specific rules and scoring criteria of the particular Muay Thai bout they are taking part in, as variations may exist between different events or organizations. Understanding the scoring system helps fighters strategize and tailor their approach in the ring.


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