UFC Controversies Continue
UFC controversies continue with latest split decisions
By: The Rex Factor
The UFC put on its second show of the year in Boston Sunday night, and for the first time in the history of the promotion, the last two fights ended in split decisions.
As always, the last two fights are shrewdly marketed as the “co-main” and “main” events “OF THE EVENING!!!” by UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer. His job is to hype these last two fights, and he does a splendid job – much better than the judges have been doing lately.
T.J. Dillashaw won his five-round fight with Dominick Cruz in the main event to keep his bantamweight title; except the judges didn’t see it that way. In the co-main event, slugger Eddie Alvarez also was gifted a win against high-octane Anthony Pettis by the judges.
Each fight went the distance, and the judges got the winner wrong in both of them. Curiously enough, the judges gave both decisions to the underdogs.
In the fight before that, Matt Mitrione was beating Travis Browne before getting poked in the eye twice and fighting through it only to lose by TKO to Browne with less than a minute ago. I didn’t have any plays the other night because the previous UFC fights on Jan. 2 left a particularly bitter taste in my mouth.
I had put in a long day of winning football and basketball plays; the last day of bowl season was a good one (3-1, see Saturday’s Bowl Picks). I hadn’t fully focused on the UFC 195 card from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, even though it was a good card and the welterweight crown would be on the line in the main event.
Nevertheless, I’ve been winning at this sport for six-plus years, so I did a couple of hours of research on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and some follow up work monitoring the markets Saturday before deciding to bet a few fights. Turns out some of the line movement was so drastic that I got involved with multiple fights where I had no interest, just betting against the extreme steam. It’s worked for me in many sports before and will again. That night, it didn’t.
The first bout of the night was an example of that, where Edgar Garcia ended up being a play at +135 against Sheldon Westcott after opening a pick. Edger got knocked out three minutes in. Fine, I don’t mind losing like that. Just got beat after taking a number – it happens.
A little later, Irish Joe Duffy fought Dustin Poirier. Irish Joe was the last man to beat Connor McGregor in the Octagon, more than five years ago. He opened as high as a minus-275 favorite before all of the dog steam drove him to minus -155 shortly before the fight. I leaned dog at open, missed the price and ended up laying that. Duffy got mauled and lost a decision, one of seven decisions of the 12 fights that night. Again, I can take losing a decision when it’s the wrong side.
In between those two fights was the middle fight on the Fight Pass card, where price dictated a late play on Joe Soto at plus-125. I was on the fence when he was even to plus-105 but price dictated a play against Michinori Tanaka. It was close, but I lost a split decision that could have gone either way. I could live with that one – but it was the only one of FOUR SPLIT DECISIONS I lost on the night where I respected the decision. I think they got all of the other three wrong!
Obviously, there is wiggle room for what two people see, and a future column will come about UFC scoring in the next couple of weeks. One example is Albert Tumenov’s win over Lorenz Larkin on the main card. I had Larkin winning all three rounds; one judge scored Larkin a two-round winner but the two others gave two rounds to Tumenov. A linesmaker down here (who I greatly respect) called me blind and thought Larkin did nothing and lost all three rounds. Rational people can disagree sometimes; I got the short end of the stick again.
Kyle Noke beat up on Alex Morono for three rounds, as evidenced by one judge scoring it 30-27 just like I did. Two others, amazingly enough, scored it 29-28 for Morono, defying all logic and belief.
The main event is a candidate for Fight of the Year, and we were only two days into 2016. My bet on Carlos Condit at even money in the main event against welterweight champion Robbie Lawler seemed like a winner. Condit had way more volume and strikes and seemed to win at least three, if not four rounds. One judge agree with me on 3-2, scoring it 48-47 but the other two scored Condit winning three rounds to two.
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.
I sat out the fights on the 17th. Considering I would have had Dillashaw that’s a good thing – but I also liked Alvarez, so the judges would have finally gifted me one for once!
This isn’t The Rex Factor crying in his beer over here. It’s a call to the UFC to somehow find a way to correct the judging flaws in these fights. The judges in Nevada AND Massachusetts have clearly struggled in the first two fight cards of the year and the quality of the judging is deteriorating. The sport in and of itself is deteriorating to the level of boxing (for the seedy, wrong reasons) in the eyes of many, and that’s never a good thing.
Before I call up America’s Bookie and bet these fights again with my hard earned money, I’d sure like to get into the heads of how these guys score the fights. If it comes down to a decision these days, that’s a gamble I can do without!
The Rex Factor has been following professional fighting for almost 20 years and handicapping prize boxing and UFC fights since the early 2000s. He NO LONGER remains undeterred in betting them despite sometimes getting the short end of the stick by the judges!
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