When the final horn sounded at the end of the fifth round on Saturday night, everyone from the fighters to the fans at home were certain Sean Strickland had scored the biggest win of his MMA career. That proved to be true, though one judge threatened to change that.
Strickland defeated Jack Hermansson by split decision in the main event of UFC Fight Night 200, winning 49-46, 47-48, 49-46 to move into the middleweight title picture.
Strickland calls for title shot
Throughout the fight, Strickland (25-3) used his striking tactically to keep Hermansson off balance. Hermansson wasn’t able to land a single takedown attempt.
Strickland now says he’s looking forward to fighting again – hopefully, against the winner of the upcoming title fight between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker.
“I’m a company man, I’ll fight who you put in front of me,” Strickland said afterwards. “But if he has the belt, I’ll be very happy.”
After the fight, many questioned the scorecard of veteran judge Sal D’Amato, the one official who scored the fight in favor of Hermansson. Both Derek Cleary (3rd round) and Junichiro Kamijo (1st round) did give one round to Hermansson. But D’Amato awarded the Norwegian the first, third, and fifth rounds.
Strickland’s coach, Eric Nicksick, pointed out that not a single media member scored the fight for Hermansson, according to MMADecisions.com.
Not even one media member scored it for Jack. I know we won, but if this guy is still judging, he will continue to make egregious decisions and ultimately cost fighters their careers and livelihood. #fireSal pic.twitter.com/g70PizTsuO
— Eric Nicksick (@Eric_XCMMA) February 6, 2022
“I know we won,” Nicksick wrote in a tweet calling for D’Amato’s dismissal. “But if this guy is still judging, he will continue to make egregious decisions and ultimately cost fighters their careers and livelihood.”
Nunes ready to run it back vs. Pena
Amanda Nunes suffered a shocking upset loss to Julianna Pena in December, losing her bantamweight title via second-round submission. Nunes still holds the UFC women’s featherweight championship, but says she’s ready to get revenge against the woman who beat her at UFC 269.
“At this point in my life, I just want to show up 100 percent how I want to be,” Nunes told ESPN. “So with the belt, without the belt, I just want to really, really prove I’m better than her.”
The UFC has yet to schedule a rematch between the two women. However, Nunes and Pena will serve as the coaches for Season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter, which will air starting May 3.
Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie at UFC 273
Alexander Volkanovski will defend the UFC featherweight championship against Chan Sung Jung the main event of UFC 273 on April 9 in Jacksonville, Florida. Volkanovski (23-1) planned to face Max Holloway on March 5, but Holloway withdrew from that bout due to injury.
Jung (17-6), known as “The Korean Zombie,” has won three of his last four fights, including a unanimous decision victory over Dan Ige last June. Volkanovski has won 20 straight bouts. FanDuel Sportsbook rates Volkanovski as the -390 favorite over Jung (+310) in the bout.
In the UFC 273 co-main event, Petr Yan (-320) will take on Aljamain Sterling (+260) in a bantamweight title unification bout. Sterling defeated Yan by disqualification last March to claim the title.