Gerald Meerschaert knows it’s on him not to leave a fight to the judges; doing so doesn’t always work out in your favor. It’s often a recipe for devastation, but there’s nothing you can do about it once the judges award your opponent a narrow — and perhaps controversial — win.
But that’s not to say he’s not a little bitter about his loss to Kevin Holland at UFC Philadelphia in March.
“I still got a chip on my shoulder,” Meerschaert told Bloody Elbow.
The Roufusport product fought to a tough split decision against Holland, a rising middleweight prospect, in a hard-fought bout. Despite the fact that 14 of 17 media members on MMADecisions.com scored the fight for him, the judges’ call did not go Meerschaert’s way. One judge even gave Holland all three rounds.
Two months later, Meerschaert admits there are some things he could have done differently to make the fight a bit clearer in his favor. And he knows he has to “live with” what happened. Again, it’s on him to finish the fight, he said. However, having watched the fight back multiple times, he has yet to come up with any way Holland deserved the victory.
“Instead of being so grappling heavy on hunting submissions, it would have been probably smart to do some damage and some ground-and-pound first,” Meerschaert said. “But I’m a guy with 20 submission wins; if I think I can submit somebody, it’s hard to turn that switch off when you’re hunting for the neck.
“The criteria that we’re always told is based on effective striking, effective grappling, and Octagon control. I had the more effective grappling for sure and I controlled the Octagon for sure. Neither of us really did much in the way of effective striking.”
Meerschaert said if he recalls correctly, he could see how the judges would give Holland the first round. But he is confident he deserved at least the last two rounds. The one judge who scored the fight for Meerschaert did indeed give the 31-year-old the second and third rounds.
Meerschaert suggested that perhaps the majority of MMA judges have little knowledge when it comes to jiu-jitsu, so they naturally favor effective striking over effective grappling — thus giving Holland the win.
“The only thing I could think of is none of them are grappling savvy,” Meerschaert said. “A lot of these people have no background. Or if they do have a background, a lot of them come from a boxing background or maybe point karate or something like that — maybe once in a while you get a wrestler thrown in there. Almost none of them, because these are all generally older ladies and gentlemen, have any jiu-jitsu experience whatsoever.
“So it’s a really interesting thing that in a sport that jiu-jitsu is big part of and grappling is a big part of, you don’t have people that recognize the full spectrum of the game. I think in my fight they were like, ‘This guy looked like he threw more punches, so I think he won.’”
With the Holland defeat, Meerschaert has lost two in a row. He also only has one fight left on his contract. Targeting a return at UFC 241 in August in Anaheim, “GM3” said there will be a lot of pressure on his shoulders the next time he steps into the cage.
“I gotta go in there and I gotta do some crazy stuff,” Meerschaert said. “I gotta spin, I gotta jump off the cage, I gotta do a flying reverse triangle omoplata until I get a knockout at the same time to make sure I keep my spot in there.”