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Judges Gonna Judge: Did Paddy Pimblett get away with robbery vs. Jared Gordon at UFC 282?

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Welcome to “Judges Gonna Judge,” where our MMA Junkie staff panel revisits the most controversial decision that occurred over the weekend.

This week, we take a closer look at the UFC 282 co-main bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, a lightweight matchup between Paddy Pimblett and Jared Gordon.

The first two rounds of the fight were largely spent on the feet in striking exchanges, while the third round slowed to a clinch battle against the fence. The judges rendered their decision and all three scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Pimblett.

Unofficial judges hearing the result were not in agreement with the cageside officials, as many immediately began calling the result a robbery. Some even suggested foul play as they thought Gordon clearly did enough to win the fight. Media members overwhelmingly saw the fight for Gordon, as 23 of the 24 scores submitting on MMA Decisions were in his favor.

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Official judges Doug Crosby and Ron McCarthy turned in identical scorecards, giving Pimblett the first and second rounds. Judge Chris Lee arrived at a 29-28 score, but he saw the second and third rounds for Pimblett.

MMA Junkie’s Matthew Wells, Farah Hannoun and Simon Samano put on their judging hats and break the fight down by each round.

If you need a refresher on the official scoring criteria before we dive in, you can check it out here.

Round 1

Wells: This round was filled with striking exchanges. Pimblett pressed forward as Gordon circled on the outside, and went first in the initial offerings. A good amount of punches Pimblett offered were blocked completely, or partially by Gordon. On the other side, whenever Gordon committed to throwing, he landed the left hook cleanly, getting big reactions from Pimblett. After a pair found their mark, Pimblett stopped his forward pressure to gather himself. Kicks were in the mix as well, with both fighters landing nicely to the body and the legs. Pimblett may have had a higher volume here, but Gordon landed at a higher percentage, and with more power. In the last 30 seconds, Pimblett tried for a trip takedown, but was reversed, and Gordon ended up on top in guard. He landed a couple of strikes here as Pimblett did his best to hold until the round ended.

Wells’ score: 10-9 Gordon

Hannoun: Pimblett was loose to start Round 1, pressing Gordon with some combinations and solid leg kicks. But after Gordon repeatedly found a home for his left hook, Pimblett knew he had to be more cautious. Pimblett continued to press forward though, but Gordon connected with a big counter right. Pimblett certainly landed in Round 1, but Gordon appeared to have the more impactful shots. Pimblett attempted a takedown to close out Round 1, but wound up on bottom when he was reversed. Back-and-forth round, but I scored it for Gordon.

Hannoun’s score: 10-9 Gordon

Samano: To me, this was the easiest round to score because of one simple reason: Gordon’s left hand. That left hook repeatedly found a home on Pimblett’s face throughout the round. Now, it was by no means one-way traffic. Pimblett did have some success of his own striking, but two things about this: No. 1, it was during exchanges when both men landed hard shots and No. 2, a few of his combos that looked nice were actually blocked. Unless we’re awarding style points, I don’t see how this round could be awarded to Pimblett. The story of these 5 minutes was Gordon’s left hook, which landed with power and clean the entire time.

Samano’s score: 10-9 Gordon

Round 2

Wells: The striking exchanges continued into the second round, and Pimblett continued to go first. Pimblett found a home for more punches and kicks than Gordon in the early sequences. Gordon then began to press forward, but Pimblett did well to evade his big hooks. With just over three minutes to go, Gordon got in on a double leg, but Pimblett countered with a choke attempt from the front side position. The attempt looked tight for a few seconds, but Gordon worked free. They fought for position against the fence for a moment, and Gordon landed a hard overhand right on the exit. After resetting, Pimblett landed a nice right of his own. They continued to trade, with Gordon perhaps getting the best of exchanges before clinching. Pimblett kept it standing and unloaded a nice flurry. After an accidental eye poke, Pimblett closed out the round with another nice combination.

Wells’ score: 10-9 Pimblett

Hannoun: The pace has slowed down a little, but it’s Gordon who was pressuring this time. Gordon looked for the same left hook he had success with in Round 1, but Pimblett did a much better job evading. Gordon pressed Pimblett on the cage and worked for a double leg takedown, but Pimblett held onto his neck from the side for a choke attempt. Gordon broke free while still holding onto the takedown, but Pimblett eventually disengaged. Pimblett landed a big right on Gordon, who fired back with a left. Pimblett closed out the round strong by going at Gordon with some big shots which edged him the round.

Hannoun’s score: 10-9 Pimblett

Samano: This was a close round. Pimblett coming out in the first minute with a heavy kicking attack was smart. Not only did he land nicely high and low, but the kicks kept Gordon at distance for the time being. Pimblett also landed a really nice right hand to the body that stood out. Gordon eventually shot for a takedown and got it, but it led right into a Pimblett choke attempt. Now, whether or not Gordon was in any real danger may be up for debate. But still, he threatened. Gordon’s best moment this round was on the exit of a clinch when he landed a hard right hand to Pimblett’s face, but Pimblett responded with one of his own, and then Gordon answered with that left hook. An eye poke by Pimblett temporarily stopped the action with 14 seconds left, but then he closed the round throwing a nice combo. Overall, I thought the striking was close, but what secured the round for me was Pimblett’s submission attempt from the bottom.

Samano’s score: 10-9 Pimblett

Round 3

Wells: Just 30 seconds into the round with nothing of note happening before, Gordon dumped Pimblett to the canvas with a takedown. Pimblett got back to his feet quickly, but Gordon was in full-on wrestling mode as he tried to get the fight back on the mat. Pimblett snuck in a couple of knees and short punches. Gordon responded with a few punches of his own as he adjusted position. They separated for a moment, but Gordon got right back in on the clinch, where both landed a close strike or two. Pimblett looked for a trip counter, but Gordon reversed the attempt and took his back for a moment, before they scrambled. Pimblett ended up taking Gordon’s back, but there were no more significant strikes here before the end. In this grapple-fest of a third round, I favored Gordon’s work. Pimblett has to be able to get out of those positions and mount more offense.

Wells’ score: 10-9 Gordon

Hannoun: After two back-and-forth rounds with action on the feet and the ground, Round 3 was rather uneventful. Gordon immediately shot for a takedown and got it briefly before Pimblett got back up. Gordon kept holding on and working for a takedown, but wasn’t throwing up any offense. Pimblett tried with some knees and elbows and eventually broke free. However, Gordon smothered him again against the fence. With less than a minute remaining, Gordon finally got the takedown and took Pimblett’s back. He was too high though which allowed Pimblett to escape and take his back to end the fight. Not much happened, but Gordon was the one controlling the round. The round was closer than I thought, but Gordon outworked him.

Hannoun’s score: 10-9 Gordon

Samano: All right, so this may have been the hardest round to score for some people since it lacked action, but to me it was pretty clear. Gordon took control against the cage about 15 seconds in, changed levels and sent Paddy face first into the canvas, and then controlled the clinch for essentially the next 3 minutes during which time both guys occasionally threw strikes – Pimblett mostly knees and Godron short punches. But make no mistake that Gordon dictated the pace. When they finally separated with about 2 minutes remaining, Gordon went right back to closing distance into the clinch against the fence. Same deal: Pimblett with some defensive hammerfists and Gordon returning short punches until landing the takedown. He was too high on Pimblett, who shucked him and then closed the final 10 seconds or so draped on Gordon. Sounds lame, sure, but for me, the control time won this round for Gordon, because neither man’s striking was clearly effective or impactful. That made the tiebreaker a no brainer – the control time, even if it doesn’t rank high on the scoring criteria. It still counts.

Samano’s score: 10-9 Gordon

Is using the term ‘robbery’ justified in this decision?

Wells: I was absolutely stunned to see that only one official judge gave Gordon the first round. I have watched it multiple times and cannot understand how Pimblett was awarded a 10-9 by Crosby and McCarthy. It was the clearest round of the fight, in my opinion. The second was close, but I thought Pimblett did enough to edge it out with his closing sequence. Gordon’s grappling approach dictated the third, which led me to a 29-28 score. I don’t like to use the “R” word lightly, but if one wants to slap that label on this result, I’m not going to argue. Nothing about hearing Bruce Buffer announce Pimblett as the unanimous winner felt right here.

Wells’ overall score: 29-28 Gordon

Hannoun: After re-watching the fight, I thought every round was close. Screaming robbery is hard only because there wasn’t a single dominant round for any fighter. Round 1 was close, but Gordon’s left hooks were perhaps the most significant moment. Both fighters had their moments in Round 2, but I thought Pimblett stole it in the final minute. Round 3 was uneventful and perhaps Gordon could have sealed it more definitively by being more active with his strikes. That being said, it’s hard to give that round to Pimblett because he was suffocated and pressed against the cage for the majority of the round. So based on control, I scored that round for Gordon as well as the fight. It comes down to Round 1 in my opinion which was very close. So was Round 2, so tough opening rounds to score, but I thought Gordon should have gotten the nod.

Hannoun’s score: 29-28 Gordon

Samano: Did Gordon dominate Pimblett? No. That being said, he was the clear winner of this fight and for Pimblett to say he easily won the first two rounds is laughable. At best, he barely won Round 2, which you could argue deserved to go to Gordon. Bottom line: This felt like a robbery on fight night and still does after a re-watch.

Samano’s score: 29-28, Gordon

Official decision: Paddy Pimblett def. Jared Gordon via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Official individual scores:
Doug Crosby: 29-28 Pimblett
Chris Lee: 29-28 Pimblett
Ron McCarthy: 29-28 Pimblett

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Novak Djokovic shares message to Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina – Tennis World USA

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Novak Djokovic congratulated Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina on “an amazing tournament.” On Saturday, 23-year-old Rybakina fell just short of landing her second Grand Slam title. In the Australian Open final, Rybakina was up by a set before 24-year-old Aryna Sabalenka stormed back to win 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Six months ago, Djokovic and Rybakina lifted titles at Wimbledon. “@lenarybakina, amazing tournament,” Djokovic captioned his Instagram Story.

Djokovic congratulates Rybakina

Rybakina has now made Grand Slam finals in two of the last three Major tournaments.

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After winning Wimbledon and finishing as runner-up at the Australian Open, Rybakina admits her confidence levels have increased and she now believes even more that she can win Grand Slams. “For sure, that’s the goal, to be in the second week of all the Grand Slam, to play finals.

I mean, now I have more confidence of course even after this final. I just need to work hard, same as I did during pre-season and actually throughout the years, be healthy, and for sure the results are going to come. I would say I’m trying to not think about expectations and everything.

Still after a great pre-season like this I was thinking I should show it on the court. Then, of course, the results are going to be there. First few weeks was not that great…but I think in the end it’s just confidence to go forward, to keep on working.

I feel now good physically also. I know if I’m going to keep on working, the results are going to be (good),” Rybakina said after the match, per Tennis Majors. Rybakina has proved over the last six months that she has what it takes to be a legitimate Grand Slam contender.

En route to reaching the Australian Open final, Rybakina defeated world No 1 Iga Swiatek. It will be interesting to see how will Rybakina do after a strong Australian Open run.

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