Kamaru Usman won Demian Maia in a five-round fight at UFC Chile. Demian Maia was showing superior grappling skills during the whole fight, but he lost via close decision. However, Matt Serra believes the referee made a fatal error.
Matt Serra accused referee Leon Roberts, claiming that Maia had great chances of finishing the submission in the first round when Maia almost had the complete control of Usman’s back. (via MMAFighting.com)
“This is the thing, he had his back,” said Serra. “I was not surprised the way things went after that. You have one shot sometimes in a fight like this, especially because he didn’t have a camp. People do not understand. That’s why I predicted a first-round choke by Demian Maia. He was on his way there.”
“They weren’t just holding each other up against the cage. It might have looked like it but Kamaru had an overhook and that overhook was the only thing stopping Demian from taking that back. It was a very awkward position where [Usman] was not getting out of that. The only way he could look to free himself was to let go and expose his back. Otherwise, you’re just stalling. Now, could he keep that up for another minute and 15 seconds or whatever it was? Maybe. If so, alright, let’s see what happens in round two. Or, with thirty seconds left, he could try to scramble and still get strangled.”
“Just in the montage before he walks out look at how many times he’s strangled guy – powerful wrestlers like Rick Story, gutty, gritty guys who do not tap easily like Carlos Condit or Matt Brown. This is not a coincidence. So for [Roberts] to take away his one shot, Leon Roberts, you should be ashamed of yourself and I think you possibly could have cost him the fight. Leon, you f**ked up, Leon. You really did.”
Demian Maia was completely unable to take the fight to the ground. He had 15 unsuccessful takedown attempts, and he didn’t secure any position but the one when Usman was able to slip away in the first round. Despite that, Matt Serra defends him from the bottom of his heart.
Usman should face Santiago Ponzinibbio in the main event of the evening, but Santiago had to withdraw due to an injury. Maia stepped up and had only three weeks to prepare for a five-round fight! Matt Serra had few additional comments here.
“Are you getting influenced because you’re maybe hearing some boos in the crowd or something?” said Serra. “Your job is not to make this s**t entertaining. It’s one thing if a guy is stalling.
“I get worked up because Demian Maia took that fight like a f**king warrior and he saved that card and he had his position, he had what he wanted. He was this close! We don’t know what would have happened!”
Matt Serra is a former UFC champion and UFC Hall Of Famer, and he knows what does the loss in a smaller fight or promotion means. He is aware that Maia’s title aspirations are heavily endangered now. Looks like it is a tough pill to swallow for former UFC champ.
“I am so livid! I’m livid over this ref!” exclaimed Serra. “This was his shot and he had him in a position! People can say what they want, that ref screwed him. Maybe he would have rode out the round but you never know. It was such a horrible thing to do to him because he never got that position back.”
What do you think, is Matt Serra right? Did Leon Roberts really made a mistake or not?