In a fight fought largely on the mat between Jon Fitch and BJ Penn in the main event of UFC 127, there was a shock outcome as the judges called it as a majority draw.
Fitch got the nod 29-28 on one judges scorecard, while the other two officials called it 28-28.
For the first two rounds it was certainly a closely fought affair. Penn came out with a surprising gameplan, attempting to take Fitch down from the start. He was not successful at first, but eventually managed to do so, and proceeded to put Fitch in danger by taking his back and attempting to sink in a rear-naked choke.
Fitch was savvy enough to stay calm and fight it off, and with a minute left managed to break free and reverse the position, ending up on top briefly before Penn got back to his feet.
In the second round Penn bloodied Fitch’s nose with a sharp elbow against the fence and then manages to secure a double-leg takedown on the wrestler.
Penn again looks for his back, and again Fitch manages to reverse the position. There’s better work from Fitch this time on top as he looks to establish his familiar grinding style in the closing stages of the round.
There’s all to play for in the final round, and it’s Fitch who gains the ascendancy, putting Penn on his back within seconds. From their he really begins to work overtime on his ground and pound, keeping up an incredible pace for the entire round.
Under a constant barrage of offense Penn is left in defense mode and is unable to find a way to escape or work a submission attempt, and Fitch is in complete control.
To most people watching it appeared as if Fitch had done enough to win, and even Penn believed he was going to lose, but the judges saw it differently, and the majority draw verdict leaves the two fighters in limbo, and the top of the welterweight division in a state of confusion.
A rematch now seems the most likely course of events, and in the immediate aftermath both fighters appeared to be prepared to do that.
The question now is whether this could become a future 170lb title fight if GSP defeats Jake Shields in April and then moves up to 185lbs to fight Anderson Silva.