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UFC fighters react to controversial Shevchenko vs. Santos scorecard - ‘49-46? That’s crazy, that’s robbery!’

Every week seems to bring another judging controversy, but none hits harder than seeing a massive underdog like Taila Santos lose a close title fight off a questionable scorecard.

Nobody gave Taila Santos much of a chance to beat Valentina Shevchenko coming into UFC 275, which took place last night (Sat., June 11, 2022) inside Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. And that’s the reason it’s so gut-wrenching for many fans to see her seemingly robbed of a winning performance in their women’s Flyweight title fight.

Santos controlled Shevchenko through the majority of their five-round title fight, taking her back multiple times, locking in a body triangle, and nearly submitting the dominant champ with a rear-naked choke (watch highlights here). None of that mattered in the end to the third and deciding judge sitting ringside.

Judges one and two had the fight split 48-47 between Santos and Shevchenko. The third judge, Clemens Werner, handed in a 49-46 scorecard for Shevchenko.

The outrage and confusion was widespread across mixed martial arts (MMA) Twitter, with UFC fighters reacting just as strongly. Henry Cejudo uploaded a video of him watching the decision, capturing our reaction when the 49-46 scorecard went Shevchenko’s way.

“What?” Cejudo whispered. “49-46. 49-46? 49-46? That’s crazy. That’s robbery, man. That’s not cool, man. Look, they’re booing. They’re booing.”

Take a look at some of the other fighters who chimed in on the dubious scorecard following Shevchenko’s split-decision win.

As usual, when we discuss judging and scoring, there are two sides to the argument. There are those who say the judges are finally following the Unified Rules of MMA scoring criteria as written and assessing fights on damage and not control. And then there are those who argue the first (and main) scoring criteria is effective striking / grappling, and these days it seems like effective grappling has been tossed in the trash.

Whichever way you see it, there’s no doubt Santos gave Shevchenko the toughest fight of her championship run (which now sits at seven title defenses, a new record in women’s MMA). And if the scoring criteria was properly applied, then there’s still a lot of people — UFC fighters included — who are applying it wrong.

Take note, everyone: dominant positions and submission attempts aren’t going to win you a fight, unless you apply some violence along with it.

For complete UFC 275: “Jiri vs. Teixeira” results and play-by-play, click HERE.