December 18, (THEWILL) – The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) saw one of the year’s strangest scorecards in the bout between Jared Cannonier and Sean Strickland, the main event of the UFC Vegas 66 in the early hours of Sunday, at the APEX facility in Las Vegas, NV.
Although Cannonier triumphed, receiving the decision on both judges’ scorecards, the final results were peculiar, as Cannonier appeared to have won decisively on two judges’ cards with scores of 49-46, while another judge gave Strickland a 49-46 advantage.
Judge Sal D’Amato provided the dissenting opinion for Strickland. D’Amato and judge Derek Cleary had radically different scorecards, and their disagreements on every round made the result even weirder. Nevertheless, Cannonier made a triumphant return after losing a disappointing title match to Israel Adesanya at UFC 276 in July. He has triumphed in three of his last four battles.
Following a knockout loss to current UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira, Strickland has now dropped two straight matches. This is Strickland’s first losing streak in his 14-year professional career.
The controversy is reminiscent of the recent issue of judging criticism. In the co-main event of UFC 282 in Las Vegas, there was controversy when Paddy Pimblett defeated Jared Gordon, who put him to the test at the octagon, with a score of 29–28 from all three judges, with two of them awarding him the first two rounds and the third giving him rounds one and three, which was thrashed by fans as being overly favourable to Pimblett.