MMA fans may have just been witness to one of the worst decisions of 2014, and once again it involves none other than Diego Sanchez, who took on Ross Pearson in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Khabilov.
Ross Pearson fought a very smart, tactical fight that saw him punish Diego to the body and patiently pick his strikes. Sanchez ended round 1 with a late flurry in an otherwise ineffective round. Pearson dropped Sanchez with a hard right hand in the 2nd and when Sanchez popped back up he was urging Pearson to "bring it", but the Brit was not to be goaded into a classic Diego flurry. Pearson's strike selection was varied and Diego's takedowns were being stuffed.
Round 3 was another display of Pearson's superior footwork and excellent defense, as Diego couldn't get off any majorly successful attacks nor could he try and get Pearson down. Sanchez's best strikes were landed in single shots while Pearson continued to evade the majority of his punches and land his own, busting up Sanchez's face in the process. The final seconds ended in some wild trading but it shouldn't have been enough to drastically change the winner of the round.
Official Result: Diego Sanchez defeats Ross Pearson by split decision (30-27, 27-30, 29-28)
I find it impossible to justify a Sanchez win, much less 30-27 with a round where he was knocked down, but two judges in Albuquerque, New Mexico managed to do just that. Sanchez's record in his last 6 stands at 3-3, but his decisions against Martin Kampmann, Takanori Gomi, and now Ross Pearson are all regarded as "robberies". It's a tough break for Pearson, who sees out a bitter and controversial end to his 3 fight unbeaten streak.