PIERCE: UFC 251 has underwhelming main event, poor judging, new champ 

Photo: Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway exchange blows at UFC 251. (Twitter @UFC)

Controversy Rings in Co-main Event  

The co-main event of the evening ended with a controversial decision by the judges. No. 1 contender and former Featherweight champion Max Holloway and champion Alexander Volkanovski duked it out for all five rounds Saturday night. 

 

Although the judges gave the fight to Volkanovski by split decision, I still believe that Holloway should’ve won the fight. I scored the fight 3-1 in favor of Holloway going into the final round; a round in which Volkanovski won.

 

It was a great fight to watch, but the greatest Featherweight of all time was robbed. Does this loss mean the “Blessed Era” is over? No. Holloway is only 28 years old and should have been crowned the new champ. 

 

Even UFC President Dana White voiced his opinion on the judges’ decision. 

 

“You can’t leave it to [the judges],” White said. “We got some bad judging. Did anybody in here score it for Volkanovski? Nobody in the media?”

 

White made it clear that the bout should have gone to Holloway and that the MMA judging problem is a widespread and familiar one. 

 

Boring Main Event

 

The hype for the Welterweight championship between champion Kamaru Usman and No. 3-ranked contender Jorge Masvidal was huge. However, it was one of the most boring fights of the night. 

 

Masvidal kicked off the bout with a crazy intensity to really put the pressure on the champ. Since Masvidal took the fight on only six days’ notice, his cardio was nowhere near where it should have been. 

 

Usman looked to the clinch to control the fight. He repeatedly employed the use of strange foot stomps that ultimately had no effect on Masvidal. Usman struggled to do any serious damage at all. 

 

Usman has received a mixed bag of criticism and praise for his performance. On one hand, he did what he had to do to keep his belt. While I understand him taking a safe and methodical approach, it is quite frankly just boring to watch. I would bet that the lack of a crowd helped him because there would be a barrage of boos coming from angry fans at the lack of action. 

 

Although I have to respect Usman’s ability to be a world champion, watching him fight on Saturday was like watching paint dry. 

 

Bantamweight Gold

 

After Henry Cejudo announced his retirement, the search was on for a new Bantamweight champion. The UFC decided to match up No. 3 Petr Yan and No. 6 Jose Aldo to be the first of three title fights at UFC 251. 

 

Although this seemed like a strange title matchup considering their rankings, the fight itself was very fun to watch—up until the final round. The pair stood toe-to-toe and exchanged huge shots for four solid rounds. 

 

In both the first and fourth rounds, Aldo was on the brink of being finished, but the round-ending bell saved him both times. 

 

However, the fifth and final round was brutal to watch as Aldo was down for the count. He ate huge shots while being postured up by Yan. Despite the on slot of shots landing to Aldo’s head, the referee kept giving him the opportunity to fight back. 

 

The hashtag #stopthefight was trending worldwide on Twitter as the entire internet agreed that the bout went on too long. 

 

Now, Yan is the Bantamweight champion and will have very tough challengers in the near future as this division is one of the most stacked in the entire organization. 

 

Although Fight Island did not quite deliver the hype that was built up, there were still moments of resilience and high performance. This will surely kick off a good run of fights in Abu Dhabi. 

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2020 by "The Fightlete Report"