Pimblett (20-3 MMA, 4-0 UFC) faced Gordon in the UFC 282 co-main event – a big spot for Pimblett, who emerged as one of the biggest stars on the roster after just three fights. Although Pimblett impressed with three finishes and three bonuses, the one knock on his resume was his level of competition.
Enter Gordon (19-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC), who many widely considered as his toughest test to date – and he absolutely proved to be. Although Gordon lost by unanimous decision, it was a scorecard that was heavily debated by Gordon himself, fellow fighters, media members, and fans.
Round 1 was back and forth, with both men landing their shots. However, it appeared that Gordon landed the more significant strikes, continuously finding a home for his left hook. He even wound up in top position to close out the round after a scramble.
Round 2 was the toughest to score, with some awarding it to Gordon and some to Pimblett. But it was the only round all three judges agreed on, and they all gave it to Pimblett. He went for a more kick-heavy approach, and it worked. He continued to press forward and wasn’t eating those left hooks like he was in Round 1. It was still a close back-and-forth round in which Pimblett momentarily threatened with a choke to counter Gordon’s takedown. He also closed out the round with a flurry, which edged him the round.
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Pimblett’s call for Fight of the Night was ridiculed, but up to that point it was an entertaining fight. However, Round 3 is where the pace completely slowed down, and that was thanks to Gordon’s approach, which was criticized by UFC president Dana White. Criticized or not, it was Gordon who had Pimblett controlled and pressed against the cage for the majority of the round. Yes, pretty much nothing happened, but Gordon working for the takedown is octagon control – even if he didn’t have success keeping Pimblett down.
Pimblett did try and fend him off with strikes, but in a round where practically nothing happened, it was hard to score for Pimblett. Two judges gave Round 3 to Gordon, but it was Round 1 that was the determining factor for Pimblett. The confusing part was perhaps how none of the judges scored the fight for Gordon overall.
The fact remains that Pimblett fought hard, and he shouldn’t be getting heat for the judges’ decision. But after saying post-fight that he won Rounds 1 and 2 and coasted in the third, that’s what rubbed fans the wrong way. Regardless of the outcome, it was a close fight. But Gordon had the more impactful moments and overall control, which should have been enough to award him the fight – but judges thought otherwise.