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UFC 247: Jones vs. Reyes - Winners and Losers

Get to know who the real winners and losers were at UFC 247, one of the most controversial nights in the history of the organization.

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC 247 will always be remembered for terrible judging, highlighted by Jon Jones “successfully” defending his light heavyweight title over Dominick Reyes. Most observers scored the fight for Reyes, though a case could have been made for Jones to win three of the rounds. That’s why people were stunned when one of the judges, Joe Solis, scored the contest 49-46 for Jones. Even worse, Solis delivered another judgment earlier in the evening that was just as indefensible. To be completely fair to the poor judging – and a lot of it was poor – none of the scores resulted in an impossible to understand robbery. But there were far more scores that left viewers scratching their heads as opposed to nodding along in agreement.

Despite the ridiculousness of several contests on behalf of the judges, it wasn’t all bad. In fact, the overall action in the cage was awesome. Valentina Shevchenko left no doubt of her dominance, easily disposing of Katlyn Chookagian. There were several early finishes and plenty of contenders for FOTN. Plus, who doesn’t love a Derrick Lewis post-fight interview? It’s too bad all of the good will be overshadowed by the controversy of the evening….


Dominick Reyes: It’s rare when fighters experience a loss as their true breakout moment. But, deserved or not, that’s what happened to Reyes. The former collegiate football player took the action to Jones from the very start, aggressively pursuing the champion with punching combinations and kicks. It led to Reyes holding the advantage in striking over the first three rounds. To no one’s surprise, Jones turned up the heat late, just as Reyes was beginning to fade, allowing the defending champion to do just enough to avoid a loss. Though the outcome is no doubt disappointing, the loss didn’t appear to break Reyes at all. Instead, in a losing effort, Reyes had his name become more famous than it has ever been as many believed he rightfully deserved to be the first to pin a legit loss onto Jones. It may not be as notorious as pulling off the actual victory, but it was the next best thing.

Valentina Shevchenko: No disrespect to Chookagian, but there wasn’t anyone watching that didn’t think Valentina wasn’t going to run away with the victory to keep her flyweight title. Despite Chookagian having a reach advantage, Valentina picked her apart, both with punches and kicks. In fact, it appeared Valentina was just toying with the challenger, taking her down when she wanted and finishing her off when she finally made a serious effort to put an end to the fight. Unless there’s a Nunes trilogy around the corner, it feels like it’ll be a long time before Valentina gets a serious challenge.

Justin Tafa: Nobody was picking the Mark Hunt protégé to beat Juan Adams. Tafa was just too green and Adams was just too big. Well, we’ve seen many times before how much size matters when Tafa landed a series of right hooks to the dome of Adams and picked up his first UFC win in the process. It was a far more disciplined approach from Tafa than his UFC debut against Yorgan De Castro. I still worry about his ceiling as he’s on the smaller side of the heavyweight division – despite what he weighs in at – but so was his mentor.

Dan Ige: I say this as a testament to how far Ige has come: he has no business beating the likes of Mirsad Bektic. Ige won because Bektic let him win by allowing Ige to stand and trade rather than take him down. I’m not saying Ige didn’t stuff several of Bektic’s takedowns to allow him to outpoint Bektic. I’m saying Bektic didn’t attack where he was winning the fight aggressively enough. Regardless of Bektic’s questionable strategy, Ige did what he needed to do and should be fully commended for that, scoring the biggest win of his career.

Derrick Lewis: It wasn’t a vintage performance from Lewis, but it was a typical Lewis performance in his win over Ilir Latifi. The big man had some classic Lewisesque moments, swinging for the fences over the final minutes of the fight. He didn’t get the third round finish that he’s known for – I’m not sure how Latifi was standing after some of those shots – but the flurry of offense was enough for him to get the win. Admittedly, Latifi’s takedowns and ground control illustrated why it seems unlikely Lewis will ever wrap the gold around his waist, but the big man does appear to be getting into better physical shape. At least that’s moving in the right direction….

Trevin Giles: An argument could be made Giles’ win wasn’t all that impressive. After all, Krause took the fight on just over 24-hours notice. Nonetheless, Giles found himself in some bad positions early and worked his way out of them to storm a successful comeback. Sure, part of that was due to Krause understandably gassing, but Giles could have just as easily turned down the opponent change and get paid his show money. Instead, he went in there against one of the more experienced members of the roster and survived Krause on his back for a long time. Kudos to Giles.

James Krause: Like I would have Krause anywhere else…. As of Friday morning, he had no clue he was going to be stepping into the Octagon as a combatant. Krause agreed to fight a division up – two divisions up from where he spent most of his career – and came thisclose to extending his win streak. It is a bummer his six-fight win streak was snapped in this fashion, but he gained far more cred by taking this fight than he would have by extending it to seven on a full camp. It could even be argued Krause taking the fight in the manner he did will be the defining moment of his career.

Lauren Murphy: Like most, I didn’t believe Murphy was the true winner against Andrea Lee. Regardless, Murphy put on a hell of a performance, engaging in an all-out brawl with Lee. It felt like Lee was just a bit more accurate; landing just a bit cleaner. However, the judges – in the theme of the night – saw things differently, favoring Murphy’s late takedowns. Regardless of whether you agree with the decision, this win was huge for Murphy, putting her in just as good of a position for a title shot. She called for Roxanne Modafferi though, a fight I’m totally fine with.

Andrea Lee: I can’t call Lee a loser. I can’t say it was the most complete performance of her career as I can’t recall her performing any wrestling, but it may have been her best. She mixed her strikes expertly to all levels, landing more and cleaner in addition to threatening with a third-round choke. Alas, it seems the judges preferred Murphy’s takedowns that she did nothing with. While the loss does hurt Lee’s chances of getting a title shot any time soon, it doesn’t hurt her reputation at all.

Khaos Williams: While I believed Williams looked like a solid athlete from his regional film, I didn’t think he was ready for the UFC. Either Williams is extremely lucky or I was dead wrong. Engaging Alex Morono in a firefight from the get-go, Williams proved to be more accurate in the pocket, landing several hard shots that staggered the UFC vet. Williams continued the onslaught and secured the early finish and his first UFC win in the process.

Mario Bautista: There have been some fans sleeping on Bautista. Given how Cory Sandhagen trucked over him in his UFC debut, I get it. However, Bautista is making it hard to that now. A FOTN in his sophomore effort followed by a beautiful flying knee that he’d been fishing for throughout the contest against Miles Johns and Bautista is turning himself into a walking highlight reel. Given there was some hype behind Johns coming into the bout, this should be enough for Bautista to start getting the UFC hype machine behind him a bit.

Journey Newson: The wee seconds of Newson’s contest with Domingo Pilarte looked bad for him. Pilarte came out aggressive and scored with a head kick. Newson looked stunned for a bit. Pilarte moved forward… and had his lights turned out by Newson with a heavy counter right. Newson finished the job with some ground punches and picked up his first UFC win in the process. There isn’t much else to say about the contest, but Newson showed power that many weren’t sure was there. Well, now we know.

Andre Ewell: I know many will disagree with this placement and I understand. I felt Jonathan Martinez pulled out the win over Ewell. Nonetheless, Ewell put on a solid performance himself. He put together good punching combinations, worked in some kicks and knees in a far more effective manner than he has in the past, and worked over the body of Martinez with punches. Nonetheless, Ewell escaped with an official win. Years down the road, few will know – or likely care – whether he deserved it or not. They’ll just know Ewell won.

Jonathan Martinez: Much like Lee, I can’t call Martinez a loser. I’m not going to say Martinez was robbed – I can see Ewell taking two rounds, even if I disagree with that assessment – but Joe Solis’ scorecard of 30-27 in Ewell’s favor was indefensible. Nonetheless, Martinez won over both the live crowd and the internet as there were screams of BS from both parties. Martinez is hardly a blue-chipper, but he’s made himself into a fun action-scrapper with a dangerous variety of kicks.

Youssef Zalal: Like many others, I didn’t think Zalal was ready for the UFC. It felt like the only reason he was on the roster was an impressive flying knee he landed with a lot of ground to make up on the fundamentals. If my assessment was accurate, he made that ground up in a BIG hurry. He looked fantastic in picking apart Austin Lingo. Movement, submissions, takedowns… all those aspects looked significantly improved. He’s still only 23 too.

Joe Rogan, Dominick Cruz, and Jon Anik: Major kudos to the UFC announce team for calling out the terrible judging on the evening. There have been times in the past when those in the booth have been silent on questionable scorecards and other times when they’ve been willing to call out BS when they see it. This time around, the trio went beyond that, pointing out what they believed was a judge for not properly paying attention to the contest. I’ve seen conflicting reports of whether who they were observing was an actual judge, but I like the idea of them putting heat on athletic commissions to do their job right. Here’s hoping it helps contribute to some actual changes.


Katlyn Chookagian: It was a spirited effort, but Chookagian’s efforts to dethrone Valentina looked to be doomed from the outset. Chookagian wasn’t landing a lot of her striking attempts and those that did land didn’t have the oomph to them that the champion was able to put into hers. It can be said that Chookagian was still fighting to get out of the crucifix position Valentina had her in to end the fight, showing her toughness, willing to endure an insane amount of punishment in order to continue the fight. The referee didn’t agree with her desires, stopping the fight before Chookagian endured too much of Valentina’s onslaught. It’ll be a shocker if Chookagian is ever able to work herself up to another title shot.

Juan Adams: I feared Adams might prove to be a victim of his own lack of discipline. Perhaps he was focused from the time his fight was made with Tafa, but he could have spent so much more time prior to that ironing out the wrinkles to his game. Instead, he’s now riding a three-fight losing streak with a good likelihood he finds himself outside the UFC. He’ll end up either in Bellator, PFL, or back in the UFC after a short hiatus as he’s got all sorts of talent, but he also proved he’s still very green.

Mirsad Bektic: It’s safe to say Bektic is never going to live up to the massive expectations that were placed upon him when he burst onto the UFC scene as a can’t-miss prospect. I don’t know if it’s more frustrating to say it’s because of his own questionable performances or than it would be if it were due to circumstance. Bektic dominated Ige on the mat when he was able to take the fight to the floor. The problem is the Tristar rep was too content to trade fisticuffs on the feet with Ige despite the Hawaiian easily in the early stages. Perhaps I should content myself to the idea Bektic is going to be a featherweight gatekeeper.

Alex Morono: As soon as I jumped on the Morono bandwagon, the Fortis MMA product comes up short… in a bad way. I don’t want to be too harsh as I would have guessed a brawl would have been Morono’s best route to victory and he was engaging in that. Maybe it could be said he just got caught, but Morono had all the advantages coming into the contest with Williams: UFC experience, a full camp, and very little travel. Bottom line: Morono should have won.

Miles Johns: I don’t necessarily see Johns loss as a bad thing. He wasn’t blown out, arguably winning the first round with Bautista. However, his corner advised him to make an adjustment to deter Bautista’s flying knee and Johns didn’t respond, resulting in his first professional loss. The reason why it can be good for Johns is fighters are reluctant to make serious adjustments until they feel they need to. That usually doesn’t happen until the first loss. Well, it’s upon Johns. Regardless, picking up a loss always sucks, especially in a fight that was very winnable.

Domingo Pilarte: There’s no guarantee Pilarte will get a third chance in the UFC. He entered both of his contests as the favorite only to come up short both times. Given how quickly his fight with Newson ended – it was officially 38 seconds – it’s hard to pinpoint what Pilarte needs to change. Maybe he was properly prepared this time around. More likely, he needs to tighten up his defense. Regardless, Pilarte is on thin ice.

Austin Lingo: I was very surprised to see how unprepared Lingo appeared. A product of Fortis MMA, Lingo had no answer for Zalal’s movement or well-timed takedowns. Lingo’s conditioning didn’t seem to be the best either, looking labored late in the fight when Zalal was still looking fresh. He gets a slight mulligan given the short nature of the contest being put together, but the bloom is off his rose.

Joe Solis: When you’re a judge, it’s never a good thing when the public knows your name. Think about it. When was the last time you sought out the name of a judge or referee who you thought deserved credit for doing a good job? Solis was also the judge who delivered an inexcusable score in the Ewell-Martinez fight. That isn’t even mentioning his questionable scoring of Giles-Krause, though it fortunately didn’t result in an overall questionable judgement in that contest. While I hate to highlight someone who more than likely doesn’t want anything to do with the spotlight, athletic commissions NEED to start holding their appointed judges and refs accountable. Keeping the name of Solis quiet wouldn’t have accomplished that.

Danny Dealejandro: Perhaps Dealejandro thought he would escape my notice for his indefensible score of the Murphy-Lee contest. While I know in reality he could really care less what I think, I’m going to humor myself into thinking he does care. Bottom line is Dealejandro is molding the lives of these fighters in a questionable direction despite having only judging just one UFC fight in the previous eight years. Much like Solis, Dealejandro needs to be held accountable for his scores.

Antonio Arroyo: While he deserves credit for making weight, Arroyo depleted himself so badly that he wasn’t medically cleared to compete. Given the shape we’ve seen some fighters after weigh-ins, that’s either saying the athletic commissions are taking the fighters’ safety more seriously or Arroyo was in a terrible shape. Incidents like this typically lead to a fighter moving up in weight, though I will admit it doesn’t always happen right away.

Texas: This isn’t the first time there have been questionable decisions in the state of Texas. It lead to an outcry of fans on the internet to have the UFC avoid Texas in the future, particularly with large scale events. Given the skullduggery in California and New York as well, maybe just avoiding populous states in general would be a good idea….


Jon Jones: Despite walking out of the cage with a win, there was no way Jones was going to be a winner in my book. A lot of that has to do with how high expectations are for him, but that’s what happens when you’re the GOAT. Nonetheless, Jones walked out of Houston with the all-time record for wins in a title fight. Whether or not it was from a borderline robbery, that means the evening couldn’t have been all bad for the champ. Jones’ attack never felt hurried or desperate, even when he fell behind on the mental scorecards of most viewers. It’s a bit odd given Reyes outlanded Jones in each of the first three rounds that the champion never put out an air of desperation. When I believe a fighter is in danger of losing a decision regardless of what they do until the end of the contest, I want to see them going for a finish. Jones never gave that vibe. I understand it looks like I’m saying something is fishy here, but it’s more that I’m questioning Jones’ corner in addition to himself. He may not be so lucky next time. In fact, he shouldn’t be so lucky next time.

Ilir Latifi: Most expected Latifi to get crushed by Lewis. Had Latifi merely survived, most would have considered it a good night for him. Instead, Latifi made it a competitive contest, executing several takedowns and absorbing several heavy shots from Lewis. Latifi reinforced he may be pound-for-pound the strongest man in the sport the way he threw Lewis around. I still don’t see Latifi becoming a major player at heavyweight, but this contest did show he can make a little bit of noise.

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