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UFC Vegas 75, The Morning After: Controversy wreaks havoc inside the Apex

Here’s what you may have missed!

It’s tough for “Fight Night” events to stand out.

The formula is set. A pair of Top 10 contenders meet in the main event, ideally in a weight class that’s decent-to-good but certainly not great. There’s some title implications involved, but it’s probably not a true title eliminator. The co-main usually features at least one more ranked athlete, probably two. Then, a handful of genuine prospects, middle division veterans, and Contenders Series flavor of the months fill up the rest of the night.

Some make an impact, some disappear before the years end, and we won’t be certain any time soon.

Best case scenario: the finishes are exceptionally violent or the fights are wildly fun. That’s memorable! UFC Vegas 75 didn’t quite hit either of those benchmarks ... but it did feature enough controversy to separate itself from the pack.

The weirdness began quietly. Zac Pauga vs. Modestas Bukauskas was a close fight. Both men landed plenty of hard shots, and there were a pair of clear rounds for either man. The majority of media had it scored for Pauga, but giving the nod to the Lithuanian athlete was no robbery. 30-27 in his direction though ... that’s real weird.

Debatable decisions are one thing, but referee Keith Peterson actively derailed a fight soon afterward. Dan Argueta vs. Ronnie Lawrence didn’t last terribly long, as Argueta stormed ahead early thanks to his wrestling and top control. He started hunting the neck, Peterson misinterpreted an “Hey, I’m awake!” hand jerk as a tap, and then the fight was suddenly over.

“No Decision” was the right result after the mishandling, but Lawrence and Argueta seemed to have a whole lot of fight left.

This early “Prelims” oddness crescendoed in Carlos Hernandez vs. Denys Bondar. This was a quality scrap overall, but it’s one that saw Hernandez largely landing the better shots and even winning the wrestling battle. Perhaps attempting to buck this rhythm, Bondar blasted his foe with a clearly illegal knee. There wasn’t any controversy here: the knee was obvious illegal and not at all borderline.

No point deduction!

Hernandez really stormed ahead in the third and finished with authority. A big slam saw him separate Bondar from his senses — that’s how a young fighter can build his name on a random Apex evening! Rather, it should be, but the referee ruled a clash of heads ended the fight rather than the slam.

That’s a potaTO, poTAto situation. Slams involve smashing all of your body against the other guy. That’s the nature of slamming some poor soul. From Quinton Jackson’s iconic stoppage over Ricardo Arona to Randy Couture shattering Gabriel Gonzaga’s nose early in their title fight, head butts and slams stick together like peanut butter and chocolate.

Trying to decide what part of the impact ended the fight is impossible, that’s why it’s not done. Furthermore, if there’s a slam and the slammed fighter’s head bounces off the canvas into the slamming athlete, who’s at fault? It’s all incidental contact, a part of the game everyone is playing.

Hernandez still got the nod via technical decision, so at least there’s that. If I’m Hernandez, however, I’m still posting that slam KO on my Instagram and trying to reap the benefits of one of the night’s biggest moments.

For complete UFC Vegas 75: “Cannonier vs. Vettori” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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