UFC on Fuel 7 was not short on decisions. A total of 9 fights went the distance, a first in UFC history. Of course, the more decisions you have, the higher you run the risk of some interesting scorecards from the judges. There were certainly some contestable scorecards tonight, and here they are (courtesy of MMA Decisions):
- Aaron Chatfield – 29-28 Che Mills over Matt Riddle. I literally laughed when I heard Bruce Buffer announce this Not a single sensible person could’ve given the fight to Mills. Actually, Mills was fortunate to even win a round. Chatfield, who gave rounds 1 and 3 to Che, has only been judging UFC fights since UFC 147 in 2012, and he has had some puzzlers. He gave a 30-27 for Cristiano Marcello over Reza Madadi, and was the only person to score Milton Vieira vs. Felipe Arantes a draw, when most media members scored the fight for Arantes. I am probably being a tad hyperbolic, but you will not see a worse scorecard in a UFC fight this year than 29-28 Mills.
- Tom Harris – 29-28 Matt Riddle over Che Mills. If you’re thinking about the “home-cooking” factor in this fight, Harris and Chatfield are British. Like Chatfield, he also gave Mills round 1. We were WAY too close to what would’ve been a horrible robbery. This was Harris’ first UFC event.
- Aaron Chatfield (again) – 29-28 Danny Castillo over Paul Sass. Again, the right man won, but there isn’t a single round Sass could’ve possibly won unless you value failed submission attempts over takedowns and ground-and-pound. He gave round 1 to Sass presumably based on Paul’s aggressive submission game, but Castillo fended all of them off with little trouble. Castillo also retaliated with effective elbows and punches from top position. Chatfield was the only judge to score a round for Paul, as the other two judges had it 30-27.
- Chris Lee – 29-27 James Te Huna over Ryan Jimmo. If you missed the fight, Jimmo floored Te Huna with a head kick in the 1st round and came incredibly close to finishing James on the ground. Te Huna survived but was bloodied up and sustained a cut above the right eye, and Jimmo arguably earned a 10-8. The 2nd round saw Te Huna take Jimmo down, advance position and land some hard ground-and-pound towards the end of the round, but it wasn’t utter domination like Jimmo’s near-finish of Te Huna. Somehow, Lee awarded a 10-8 to Te Huna. I personally didn’t score round 1 10-8 for Jimmo because Te Huna finished the round landing some solid elbows from the bottom, but that had a MUCH better case for a 10-8 than the 2nd round.
While not egregiously bad, judges Chris Lee and Andy Roberts scored the 1st round of Josh Grispi vs. Andy Ogle for Grispi. I scored the 1st for Ogle simply because Grispi had just about zero offense beyond the triangle choke attempt. While Grispi was trying to lock in the submission, Ogle was cleanly landing punches to his face.
The common theme out of these scorecards is that the “right” fighter won on each occasion, but that’s essentially paper over the cracks. One of the most discussed issues in MMA is improving the quality of judging, and tonight was another example of why.
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