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Taila Santos

(Paul Miller/ USA TODAY Sports)

Was Taila Santos Robbed Against Valentina Shevchenko?

Taila Santos
(Paul Miller/ USA TODAY Sports)

Was Taila Santos Robbed Against Valentina Shevchenko?

At UFC 275 Valentina Shevchenko looked to defend her belt against Taila Santos. Technically, that is exactly what she did. However, did Shevchenko really deserve to get her hand raised, or was Santos robbed? Let’s take a look.

Verdict’s Scorecard

The first thing you should ever look at if there is a potential robbery is Verdict MMA. If you do not know what Verdict MMA is, here is an explanation. Below is a comparison of how the three cage-side judges scored the fight and Verdict’s scorecard.

As you can see, two judges differ from Verdict’s scorecard. Howard Hughes gave Shevchenko round two while Clemens Werther gave her one and two. This immediately raises red flags.

Damage versus effective grappling

If you did not watch the fight, I will give you a brief summary. Shevchenko appeared to be the better striker in rounds one through three. However, both fighters were slightly inactive. But, Santos was able to land takedowns, advance position, and attempt submissions. Rounds four and five both go to Shevchenko as she easily out struck Santos in those rounds.

The issue at hand is damage versus control. How do you weigh and takedown with submission attempts in comparison to damage given on the feet? The number one scoring criteria is damage while effective grappling and striking are second. But in this fight, did Shevchenko’s damage in rounds one through three really outweigh Santos’ grappling. The stats would say yes; but, I will say no. The stats say Shevchenko significantly out struck Santos. With that being said, watch the fight. A lot of the strikes Shevchenko landed were insignificant strikes on the ground. Every time Shevchenko was threatened with a rear-naked choke she would punch Santos. Sounds great, but from that angle, those strikes do no damage. I will take the fighter nearly finishing the fight on the ground every time.

If you do not like hearing it from me. You can hear it from Daniel Cormier instead.

“Valentina Shevchenko lost the fight, at least in my opinion,” Cormier said. “Taila Santos did everything she was supposed to in order to become the UFC champion. She scored takedown, she controlled. I just don’t understand why there is no value in these submission attempts. She got her back in round one, two and three. And in round one and three she had rear-naked choke submission attempts.”

Quote from Daniel Cormier via his YouTube

The answer

I really did not do a great job of withholding the suspense. Taila Santos got robbed and should be the UFC women’s flyweight champion. I am not a fan of complaining about judging. We all know it sucks. I don’t know how we can avoid this. Verdict seems to have an answer. Open scoring may help. But for right now, just add Shevchenko vs Santos to the long list of robberies.

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