The 7th installment of UFC on ESPN was a night filled with draws, incompetent judges and two enormous kicks that landed right on the groin of Stefan Struve. The main event – Overeem vs. Rozenstruik – ended in dramatic fashion when Rozenstruick connected with a last second punch that essentially tore Overeem’s upper lip.
The 14th ranked Rozenstruik was the biggest winner in D.C. following his KO of Overeem, who was ranked sixth. Derrick Lewis’s clone can fight, who knew?
An entertaining main event didn’t quite make up for what was truly just a bizarre card. As stated before, the fight featured two draws. The first bout scored a draw was 9th ranked bantamweight Cody Stamman vs. Chinese prospect Song Yadong. Yadong appeared to win the first round but lessened his lead with an illegal knee, which resulted in a point deduction. The second round featured a-lot of grappling and was a-lot more even. That said, all three judges scored this one a win for Sadong. The third round was a unanimous win for Stamman but the fight still ended in a draw due to some radically different opinions on round one, which left some fans a bit upset.
Cynthia Cavillo and Marina Rodriguez’s bout was a catch-weight after Cavillo missed weight. This bout also ended in a draw, though in my personal opinion, it was much more understandable than Stamman – Yadong. As for the other two bouts on the main card, Rob Font and Aspen Ladd both secured easy victories. Ladd’s ground and pound added up and resulted in an early third round TKO of Yana Kunitskaya. Font – who came into this fight ranked 10th at Bantamweight – secured a unanimous decision win over Ricky Simon.
Draws aside, the most controversial fight of the night was the heavyweight match-up between Stefan Struve and Ben Rothwell. Struve – who came out of retirement for this fight – suffered two kicks to the grain that put him in serious pain. Struve essentially got Bobby Hill’d and was on the ground for quite some time, continually pointing to his stomach. This led Daniel Cormier and Paul Felder to speculate about the location of his nuts, which uh…. is not fun.
To make it even weirder, the D.C. crowd would cheer or boo every time Struve would get up or go back down. Now, is this hilarious? Very. Idiotic and nonsensical? Also yes. I personally wouldn’t want to be kicked in the nuts by a 250 pound, heavyweight UFC fighter; but I guess D.C crowds can just eat it?
Struve – who was ahead in the fight – eventually got up and continued to land strikes only the be kicked in the groin yet again.
This time, Dan Miragliotta told Stefan Struve information about the score of the fight as he was contemplating whether or not he should continue. “It was unintentional … but I’m taking a point away no matter what because of the first one” the referee said. “I’m taking a point away. It’s not two (completed) rounds yet. You’re probably winning both rounds. If you don’t continue, it’s going to be a no contest. Last (through) this second round and see how you do. … You have two and a half minutes left for recovery time”.
Struve then got up and, following a checked leg kick by Rothwell, couldn’t withstand the latter’s barrage and was TKO’d with three seconds left in the second round. Struve was obviously upset with the result and was booed by the D.C. crowd as he exited the octagon.
Rothwell was asked about Miragliotta’s comments to Struve post-fight and had this to say. “Yeah that’s unfortunate because he was basically repeating what his corner men were telling him” Rothwell said. Rothwell also stated that he picked up the pace because he knew he needed a knock out or bust and pointed to the checked leg kick as the fight’s pivotal moment.
Fans are divided over whether Miragliotta was simply relaying corner information as Rothwell suggested or if he overstepped his boundaries. Either way, UFC on ESPN 7 was UFC Heavyweight division in vintage, idiotic form. At least we got some good memes.