For the most part, judging at UFC 279 last Saturday went by without controversy. Of the six fights that saw the final bell, four were by unanimous decision. The other two saw 29-28 splits, with one of the two only really notable for its slow pace and tepid action.
It’s that other split decision, however, that’s drawn the ire of fight fans. Smack dab in the middle of the PPV card Daniel Rodriguez picked up a highly questionable win against Li Jingliang. It wasn’t the most decisive, dynamic fight in the world, but most fans and observers felt that the ‘Leech’ had done enough to take the first two rounds.
“Of course I think I won the fight,” Li said in a recent interview on the MMA Hour. “I won the fight. ... When Bruce Buffer declared a result, I couldn’t believe that. I couldn’t believe that. It’s already an awful match-up, and the result was worse. And I think it just [is an] injustice. I can accept a loss, that’s fine. But please tell me why, why I lost the fight. Please, the three judges, tell me why you think I lost the fight. Tell me. Explain to me, please.”
Apparently that sentiment has been strong enough to make it back to Rodriguez. Even though he walked away with the win, he sounds interested in silencing the doubters and proving the point. To that end, ‘D-Rod’ took to Instagram to offer Li a chance to run it back.
Of course, there’s always the matter of weight class if these two men are going to step into the Octagon again. While Rodriguez has regularly competed at welterweight throughout his career, he stepped on the scales 10 lbs heavier than Li ahead of UFC 279 due to what had been a planned 180 lb catchweight bout against Kevin Holland. According to the ‘Trailblazer’ that was because Rodriguez couldn’t get anywhere close to the 170 lb limit.
Rodriguez had been sidelined for a year due to a hand injury. Whether or not he can find the form to get back down to his former division going forward still remains to be seen.