UFC On ESPN 8 Sees Some Questionable Judging

UFC On ESPN 8 was the third event in one week for the promotion, as it made it’s return from a lengthy hiatus as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The UFC’s first event back, UFC 249, was a storming success that saw Bryce Mitchell cement his place as a potential future champion by putting on a grappling clinic, and Henry Cejudo retire at the peak of his career after defending his second UFC title against Dominick Cruz. It was always going to be hard to top that event, but the midweek UFC event in between these two was still a resounding success, with some exciting fights.

Then came UFC on ESPN 8. The event was exciting, featured talented fighters and even a living legend in the form of PRIDE and UFC veteran Alistair Overeem. But there was one thing overshadowed the good that came from the event: classic MMA judging. It’s worth noting that the fights in question were very close, and mistakes can always be made, but it’s heartbreaking for fighters to put in everything, show a winning effort, and then come away with nothing.

The first two examples weren’t particularly egregious and on any other night, probably would have gone unnoticed. Darren Elkins put on a solid display against Nate Landwehr and while he didn’t deserve to win, it’s also hard to justify the pair of 30-27 scorecards that were given to Landwehr. Krzysztof Jotko v Eryk Anders was a relatively uneventful fight and while Anders can’t really complain about losing the decision in a fight this close, another 30-27 scorecard was just a little out of place.

Edson Barboza was the worst example as he spent three rounds in a close striking match with Dan Ige after knocking him down early in the fight and defending all but one takedown attempt that landed right at the end of the third round. Somehow, the judges saw this in Ige’s favor and Barboza is now on the first three-fight skid of his career.

The Co-Main event also suffered an unusual decision as Claudia Gadelha got the nod in a fight that Angela Hill got back into after a rough first round. Hill succumbed to Gadelha’s grappling prowess in the first round, but after getting a knockdown in the second and Gadelha looking visibly tired in the third, it’s hard to justify this fight not going to Hill.

UFC On ESPN 8 Full Results

Alistair Overeem Def. Walt Harris via TKO (Rd. 2, 3:00).
Claudia Gadelha Def. Angela Hill via Split Decision.
Dan Ige Def. Edson Barboza via Split Decision.
Krzysztof Jotko Def. Eryk Anders via Unanimous Decision.
Song Yadong Def. Marlon Vera via Unanimous Decision.

Miguel Baeza Def. Matt Brown via KO (Rd. 2, 0:18).
Kevin Holland Def. Anthony Hernandez via TKO (Rd. 1, 0:39).
Giga Chikadze Def. Irwin Rivera via Unanimous Decision.
Nate Landwehr Def. Darren Elkins via Unanimous Decision.
Cortney Casey Def. Mara Romello Borella via Submission (Rd. 1, 3:36).
Rodrigo Nascimento Def. Don’Tale Mayes via Submission (Rd. 2, 2:05).

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Alex Lindsey

Alex Lindsey is the managing editor here at Grappling Insider. Originally starting training in MMA in 2008, injuries and university slowed progress until he decided to put on a gi for the first time back in 2015.

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