Saturday night’s UFC 281 card in Madison Square Garden is perhaps the best of the year on paper. It features two huge title fight in both the middleweight and strawweight divisions.
Headline the card is a matchup between reigning UFC middleweight champ and 6-1 kickboxing phenom Alex Pereira. Pereira, who is 35 years old, was a star in the kickboxing world and holds a knockout victory over Adesanya in 2017. But Adesanya, as always, is confident and has said he wants to make the rematch between him a Pereira a “horror movie.”
The other title fight features former strawweight champ Zhang Weili and current champ Carla Esparza, who shocked the world with her victory over Rose Namajunas in May to win the belt.
But the card is much deeper than just the two title fights. Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier are set to square off in a huge lightweight showdown. While other stars such as Frankie Edgar, Dan Hooker and Molly McCann highlight the undercard.
UFC 2981 Judges Appear To Change Scorecards While The Decision Is Being Read
Before the main preliminary bouts could even begin, however, there was a huge controversy that set UFC fans on fire. After a strawweight fight between Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Silvana Gomez Juarez went the distance, Bruce Buffer stepped into the cage to read off the decision. Buffer began his usual spiel. But he was stopped before he could finish.
A New York State Athletic Commission official grabbed the scorecard. The official then walked to the side of the cage and appeared to change the written scores.
— Angela Hill (@AngieOverkill) November 13, 2022
Eventually, Kowalkiewicz was named the winner by unanimous decision (29-28 x 3). But fans immediately had questions and were furious at what they had just seen play out.
— President AllVol (@AllVolCM) November 13, 2022
— WeedAndSports (@FreshFights10) November 13, 2022
— A-Dub (@Heatfan1010) November 13, 2022
LMFAO THE CORRUPTION… fuck these judges, changed the scorecards right in front of our faces this is bullshit https://t.co/HhPqgXO3SS
— BINGO (@ThebookieCR) November 13, 2022
The likely explanation is that the judges miscalculated their simple math. But it’s not a good look for a sport and company already shrouded in controvesy.