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Let’s talk about the judging at UFC Vegas 32

We’d be shocked by the performance of Nevada judges at UFC Vegas 32 if weren’t so used to bad decisions over the past 1.5 years trapped in UFC APEX.

UFC Fight Night: Barber v Maverick Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

UFC Vegas 32 went down on Saturday night (July 24, 2021) from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, and you know what that means: another night of accurate scoring from the crack team of judges assigned by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Just kidding. It was a s—t show, again. As usual, we’d say at this point.

Since COVID-19 took UFC largely off the road in March 2020, the promotion has run a staggering 40 events out of its APEX facility, and you’d think after that many events even the historically lackluster team of Nevada judges would start to get a hang of this mixed martial arts (MMA) scoring system thing.

But, it may actually be the opposite: they seem to be getting worse.

UFC Vegas 32 was certainly a low point amongst many. The main card featured three decisions, and all three were steeped in controversy. The judges had Maycee Barber defeating Miranda Maverick via split decision when it was clear as day that Maverick had won the first two rounds and Barber the third. Over on, media scores were unanimous: all 22 sites had it 29-28 Maverick. But Sal D’Amato and Dave Hagen handed the win to Barber, breaking Maverick’s five-fight win streak.

Later in the night, Raulian Paiva pulled off an epic comeback decision win via majority decision over Kyler Phillips. Unfortunately, it was largely aided by more poor judging: Phillips beat up Paiva so badly in round one that half the Internet was shocked the fight was allowed to continue. It was a textbook 10-8 round, even before the rules were updated to lower the bar for what constitutes a 10-8 round. Only one judge gave the 10-8. Eric Colon and Chris Lee scored it 10-9, and just like that fight was ruled a majority win for Paiva instead of a draw.

Now, to the main event of UFC Vegas 32, which saw Cory Sandhagen hit T.J. Dillashaw in the face from every angle, while Dillashaw pushed forward relentlessly making things a dogfight. We’ve got a lot of respect for Dilly coming back after two years and gutting through a knee injury and horrific cut to stay in the fight, but anyone without blood in their eyes blinding them would have seen Sandhagen won that fight.

It went to Dillashaw via split (47–48, 48–47, 48–47).

Judges will often score offensive pressure and positional dominance over damage in a fight, there’s nothing new there. But the big complaint with this one is that rounds 4 and 5 went to Sandhagen over Dillashaw in all departments, yet Junichiro Kamijo gave round 4 to Dillashaw and Sal D’Amato gave him round 5. That was enough to hand T.J. the split.

But hey, don’t take our word for it that the judging was whack. Here’s a bunch of current and past UFC fighters laying out just how messed the situation was on Saturday night. Given their paychecks and careers are on the line with every fight, they understand what’s at stake the most.

We’d say we hope things change, but as someone who has been covering this sport for more than 15 years now ... it isn’t going to change.

For complete UFC Vegas 32 results and coverage click HERE.

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