One bright side among this quarantine’s millions of bad ones is the quiet time to reflect. While you could make peace with the many potholes you’ve tripped over on your walk of life, I think it’d be more fun to yell at each other about controversial fights.
What? It’s not like we have any new ones to get angry about.
Welcome to “Robbery Rewind,” a quarantine-inspired series as self-descriptive as it is alliterative. We’ll start with 2020’s most controversial decision to date:
Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes — UFC 247, 2/8/20
Judges’ scores: 48-47 Jones, 48-47 Jones, 49-46 Jones
As befits an event held in Texas, UFC 247’s judging was the stuff of awful legend. Andre Ewell’s split decision over Jonathan Martinez, Lauren Murphy’s split decision over Andrea Lee, and Trevin Giles’ split decision over James Krause all provoked public ire, but nothing like the outcry over the main event.
Let’s see how justified it was:
Round One: Reyes came out red-hot, firing lefts and shutting down the early takedown attempt. Jones looked to damage the lead leg, trading leg kicks. Nobody really took command in the first two minutes until a Reyes body shot caught Jones off-balance. Nice follow-ups from Reyes to the head and body. There was nothing much for a while until Reyes started firing combinations, including a blocked wheel kick. Jones landed a glancing head kick in the last 40 seconds, then had the next one blocked.
In the end, it was 10-9 Reyes, easily. Jones didn’t land a noteworthy head strike besides maybe a glancing head kick and his leg attack didn’t outpace Reyes’ nearly enough to make up for the latter’s effective work to the head and body. There’s no argument for Jones winning this round (and all three ringside judges agreed).
Round Two: Reyes targeted the body and legs with early volume, while Jones responded with a hard body kick. Reyes then had his most eye-catching moment yet, chasing Jones around the Octagon with a lengthy flurry. It was not a great connect percentage, but some blows definitely landed. Jones caught a kick, landed a counter left, while Reyes landed to the body, as well as scored with an uppercut. Jones was able to land his first real significant punch, a left hook. He then followed it up with a good oblique kick and right hand, which was met by a body shot. Jones flicked out some jabs before they traded left hands, then a Jones low kick and counter right hand from Reyes. Then, Reyes landed a brutal counter uppercut.
Once again, it was a clear 10-9 round for Reyes. Jones definitely had more moments here than in the first — he started finding a home for his punches around the third and fourth minutes. Even if you acknowledge that Reyes’ rush wasn’t as significant as it looked to be on first viewing, though, Reyes still had firm control of the beginning and the end of the round. He also landed the best punch so far with that counter left uppercut in the waning seconds.
Two judges had this round for Jones. I don’t know if that’s quite inexcusably bad, but it’s right on the threshold.
Round Three: Back to the low kick battle. Reyes started with an eye-catching left high kick that, upon watching in slow-motion, landed better than I thought on first viewing. Hanging at punching range, neither fighter landed anything of significance. Reyes then landed a clean body kick, which was met by an oblique kick. Jones landed a counter right, avoided most of the retaliation, then scored with a side kick. Reyes went back to the body and legs, then a 3-1-body shot. Jones unleashed more oblique kicks, continuing to pressure. Reyes answered with a nice uppercut near the fence. Jones tried a head kick, shot for a takedown, but could not secure it. Reyes landed an elbow on the break, and then a body shot soon after. Jones then decided to go back to the jab. Moments later, Jones registered a right hand, while Reyes countered with a left ... then another as he circled. Jones responded with a solid hook, but absorbed a body shot in return. At the bell, Reyes launched a straight left and check hook, while Jones attempted a shot.
Once again, 10-9 Reyes. Even though Jones had his little stretch of success in the latter portions of the round, but failed to land anything more significant than his oblique kicks. Reyes had the head kick, the body kick, that counter uppercut, and some nice body shots that kept Jones from ever seizing the momentum.
But, once again, two judges had this for Jones. And, frankly, I think that’s even more questionable than scoring the second for him.
Round Four: Reyes started the round with a clean, heavy combination: Two right hooks, a clean straight left, another around the guard, and a body shot. Jones shot for a takedown, scrambled through and got him to the ground. Reyes stood up, still attached, and separated. Reyes landed a shifting hook, while Jones responded with a low kick and double-leg, which he transitioned to a rear waist lock. He then registered a nice elbow on the break. Reyes fell short with punches, then connected with body shots. Jones landed low kicks, then some shots to the body, followed up with an elbow and some dirty boxing. He kept it up, scoring with a lead hook then more body shots. Reyes landed a two-piece late, eating a hook in return and a right cross soon after.
Finally, 10-9 Jones ... fairly clearly. Reyes’ early work in the round featured some of his cleanest connections of the fight, and for all that the announcers’ comments about Jones being the fresher fighter, Reyes still had some moments in the middle and late parts. Still, Jones’ power punches in the final two minutes — especially the body shots — are hard to argue against.
Round Five: Reyes started with a clean one-two combination, then an uppercut-cross. Then another one-two combination to the body. Jones shot in response, taking him down against the fence. Reyes stood and separated. Both landed good body shots on the restart, then a straight right by Jones and a nice exchange upstairs. Trading punches, Jones then landed a solid body kick. Reyes went back to the body, while Jones targeted the body and leg before finishing the sequence with a Superman punch upstairs. Jones then unleashed a spinning back kick, while Reyes uncorked a counter left ... then a nice counter left after ducking a head kick. Jones responded with more jabs and a series of leg kicks. As the seconds melted away, Jones launched a spinning back kick. He stalked Reyes, but could not corral him.
It was another 10-9 for Jones. Having said that, it was a good start and end from Reyes; however, it was not enough to make up for Jones’ effective pressure in the middle of the round.
Final Score: 48-47 Reyes. First, fourth, and fifth rounds are borderline indisputable. Meanwhile, the second and third were competitive, but I’m not prepared to call them “swing rounds.”
Robbery? Yes, though Jones was advancing, he simply did not land enough noteworthy strikes in the first three rounds to win any of them. While I’ll admit to some personal antipathy toward “Bones,” I do not believe he has a claim to any of the early rounds because of Reyes out-working him and connecting with much heavier blows.
Who deserved the win?
This poll is closed