Few would argue against the fact that Paul Felder’s rematch against Edson Barboza at UFC 242 was a close, brutal contest. A battle of wills, speed, and power, from which both men emerged bloody and bruised—and full in the knowledge that they’d left everything in the cage.
Beyond the back-and-forth punishment dealt by the competitors, however, the bout also resulted in some wild scores from the judges. A contest that seemed to come down to a remarkably close second round, with Barboza winning the first and Felder winning the third, nonetheless ended in 30-27 fight cards for each man. And that, to the mind of Edson Barboza’s manager, Alex Davis, is a problem.
“We think that the fight was judged inaccurately,” Davis told MMA Fighting. “The fact that one judge gave it 30-27 Junior and one have it 30-27 Felder is a big indicator of their confusion. Our perception—and to everyone we spoke with, everyone in the arena, every journalist and media—the fight was 29-28 for Junior, who won the first two rounds.”
Davis made it clear, however, that his main issue was not that the fight was scored against Barboza, even if his team would obviously prefer their fighter had gotten the decision. It’s all about the large discrepancy in what, to most, seemed like clear rounds. “We can’t let this happen,” Davis said, remarking on the time and effort athletes put in to their fights, and the need for judges to be held accountable.
“We think Junior won two rounds to one, but we wouldn’t complain if it was 29-28 Felder. Nothing against Paul Felder, he’s a great fighter, a great person, his whole team, but I think Junior did a great fight and we’ll contest this.”
The loss marked the fourth time in his last five bouts that Barboza has ended up without his hand raised, and comes on the back of a brutal first round KO loss to Justin Gaethje back in March. Unfortunately for the Brazilian, commission reviews of scorecards rarely result in any change in the official result. But, it’s hard to blame his team for wanting to give it a shot.