Akira Corassani advanced his UFC record to 3-0 on Saturday night. However, it's hard to imagine that either Corassani or his opponent, Maximo Blanco pictured their fight on The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale card ending in the manner that it did.
Blanco began the fight by pushing forward. Within 15-seconds of referee Mario Yamasaki signaling the start of the Featherweight fight, Blanco used several punches to set up a takedown against the cage. Corassani freed his legs from Blanco's grasp, and used his positioning against the cage to begin to get to his feet.
That's when everything went wrong.
Corassani never fully regained his feet. He was close to doing so, but he had one knee and one hand on the mat when Blanco wound up and landed a knee directly to the face of Corassani. Blanco followed that knee with several punches before referee Yamasaki could get between the fighters and call time.
The blow, an illegal knee to a grounded Corassani, left the 31-year-old Corassani shaken up. He could be heard to tell Yamasaki, "I can't see." When the doctor made his way to the cage, Yamasaki told the doctor of Corassani's comment before the doctor began to assess Corassani, as well as attend to the nose of Corassani, which was leaking blood.
The doctor didn't take long to tell Yamasaki, "He can't see out of his left eye." Shortly thereafter, the veteran referee waved off the fight.
While Yamasaki was signaling the end of the fight, Blanco performed a back flip, clearly unaware that he was seconds away from being informed that he was being disqualified for delivering an illegal blow.
Blanco spoke to Damon Martin the day after the fight, offering his apologies to Corassani, as well as commenting on his celebratory gymnastics:
I don't understand English, so I didn't really quite understand what referee told me at the neutral corner. I am not making any excuse here, but when adrenaline is pumping its hard to understand the language I am not familiar with. So when he waved off the fight, I actually thought I won by a doctor stoppage. Then, my manager came to me told me I am disqualified.
No more back flip for me, unless I am told okay by my manager after the fight. I promised this to Sean Shelby as well. I am shamed about that back flip.
I felt shamed. So I went over to apologize to Akira, and he asked me ‘What happened?' in Spanish, and I could only say, I am sorry, that knee wasn't unintentional, but it was illegal, so I am the one who needs to take the blame here.
The knee left Corassani's nose broken in five places.
The disqualification loss drops Blanco's record to 9-5-1-1 overall and 1-2 in the UFC. Blanco has also become a repeat offender. He has another disqualification loss on his record back in 2009. In that fight, he delivered an illegal soccer kick to the head of Akihiko Mori.
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