Deiveson Figueiredo had a slick performance in the main event of UFC 255. He decimated the challenger, Alex Perez, within the first round via a guillotine choke. However, in order to get to that spot, Figueiredo grabbed the fence. This has led to sharp criticism of the flyweight kingpin from bantamweight challenger, Aljamain Sterling.
Going into the main event, Figueiredo was a sizeable favorite. The fight started with both the flyweights peppering the body of their opponents via kicks. This was when Perez grabbed a single leg and threatened a takedown on the champ. To save himself from going to the ground, Figueiredo grabbed the fence with his fingers.
Referee Marc Goddard promptly removed his hand. After Perez tried to elevate Figueiredo’s leg to complete the takedown he grabbed the fence momentarily once again. While Figueiredo eventually won the fight with the submission, the fence grab on his part led to a number of raised eyebrows.
Bantamweight contender, Aljamain Sterling, lashed out at Figueiredo for the on Twitter.
As per the Unified Rules of MMA, fence grabbing is an act that should invoke an action from the referee. The official can even levy penalties, at their own discretion, upon the fighters.
Despite the rules, even a minor fence grab may alter the course of a fight. Therefore, Sterling wants it to be made illegal once again. On top of it, he supports putting the onus on the referee as fighters always have an incentive in grabbing the fence.
It’s not very easy to exactly gauge the effect of the fence grab as it is not something that is very tangible. However, it was evident that had the fence grab not taken place, Perez would’ve possibly completed the takedown. Therefore, Sterling’s argument does seem valid up to an extent.
The UFC bantamweight will have his chance at securing UFC gold for himself by defeating Petr Yan in the future. The fight between them was earlier scheduled for UFC 256 next month. However, as per media reports, the fight may be postponed to the first quarter of 2021. Therefore, Sterling may have to wait longer to get his shot at UFC 135-pounds belt.
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