With just one more event this year (and hopefully not another entry to this list) SciFighting looks back at a hallmark year for the UFC.
Instead of shining light on all the extraordinary moments from the past year in fights however, this article will instead take a look at five of the most questionable decisions that sent fans in to an uproar in 2013.
5. Jessica Eye vs. Sarah Kaufman – UFC 166 – Eye defeats Kaufman via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
The ladies start our list. This was a typical women’s fight in that it was fast-paced, exciting and came right down to the end as both fighters battled tooth-and-nail against one another as they sought to establish a pace in the UFC with a win in their debut.
While both women had much success in finding the target on their strikes, it was an aggressive Kaufman who perhaps should have gotten the nod in her decision, at least with “Octagon control” standing as the deterring factor that could have swayed the judges in her favor. Instead, Eye gets a win that was still a hard-fought one, earning his first win under the Zuffa banner.
4. Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez – UFC on FOX 7 – Henderson defeats Melendez via Split Decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47)
The first title fight on our list was for the lightweight strap. Back in April, the former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson was defending against the former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. This would be Melendez’ first UFC fight and a win over Henderson while claiming the title would certainly shift P4P talks.
The bout was closely contested but ultimately given to Henderson.
Viewers that night seemed decidedly split along with the decision although the big controversy came when it was revealed that one of the judges actively trained with one of Melendez’ coaches. While this may not have swayed his decision and in no way am I calling out the legitimacy of this person, but the fact remains that a judge with such close ties, removed by just one mutual relationship, shouldn’t have been selected in the first place.
3. Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis – UFC 163 – Davis defeats Machida via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Machida’s style may frustrate those who don’t appreciate what he’s doing in the Octagon.
With UFC 163, I feel he implemented that karate game plan to near perfection. He worked in and out of Davis’ guard while not allowing himself to be held on the ground and brutalized. Machida worked his game while Davis seemed to hold on for the ride.
The loss prompted Machida to drop to middleweight where he success fly debuted with a head kick KO over Mark Munoz.
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson – UFC 165 – Jones defeats Gustafsson via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)
This fight will assuredly be placed on a list of the best of the year as well. Dominant UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones faced his toughest test as he took on ‘The Mauler’ Alexander Gustafsson.
If you haven’t seen the fight, find a way to do so.
If you have seen the fight you would probably say that a case can be made for Gustafsson being the current light heavyweight champion. Jones took that razor-thin decision and in turn earned the most title defenses in the division.
The consensus for this fight seemed split with many calling for an immediate rematch to give Gustafsson the chance to potentially edge Jones in perhaps the most anticipated potential rematch short of our number one entry.
1. Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks – UFC 167 – GSP defeats Hendricks via Split Decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
Readers may have seen this coming as the number one entry. It is by far the most questionable decision of the year and with a sabbatical taken by GSP after the fight, we won’t get the immediate rematch that is most deserved by Hendricks. The silver lining is that Hendricks will fight Robbie Lawler to crown the first new welterweight champion since 2008.
Hendricks did the most damage to GSP short of finishing him while also challenging his wrestling prowess.
Our own Lawrence Kenshin wrote a highly acclaimed piece that breaks down every inch of the UFC 167 main event.
Either way, GSP has seemingly set up a path to go out on top and whether he returns or not is still a highly debated subject.