There was a very controversial end to this weekend's undercard fight between Ricky Simon and Merab Dvalishvili at UFC Atlantic City.
The fight went the full three rounds and it looked as if Dvalishvili was on course for a unanimous decision from the judges, until UFC newcomer Simon managed to get the Georgian in a mounted guillotine with a minute left in the contest. The 25-year-old looked to get the submission he needed to get the win but Dvalishvili held out until the final moments when the bout ended and referee Liam Kerrigan pulled Simon off him. Kerrigan did judge however, that the Georgian had gone unconscious in the final seconds of the match.
UFC referee Marc Goddard aided in the commission’s decision-making process for Simon vs. Dvalishvili and explained the finish to Fox Sports 1 in the aftermath of the fight:
I think it was pretty clear at the end of the fight, maybe even before, when the bell sounded, Dvalishvili ... he was out. He was actually out. And in that instance, it’s like any other instance if you pick up a rear-naked choke or a guillotine. The fact that he drifts into unconsciousness was actually — it should be recorded as a submission, technical submission.
There was a bit of confusion, it was loud, and I just wanted to make sure that they weren’t going to go to the scorecards, because that’s the way it looked like it was going to be heading. But the referee Liam Kerrigan, to his credit, when he saw [Dvalishvili] was out, he actually waved it off. And I think there was a little bit of a rush, people thought we were going to try and read the scorecards, so I said, ‘No, no, no. The guy has lost the fight.’ Even though he came around pretty sharp afterwards, he most definitely lost the fight under the ruling and the right guy went away with the win.
Dvalishvili countered Goddard's take on the finish, stating that he was merely tired and claimed that he thought he had done enough to get the win over Simon:
[Simon] took me down and I couldn’t move. I just waited because there was only a short amount of time left. When it was finished, I was just tired and stayed down. I knew I had won. The doctors told me to stay down. I don’t know why they gave it to him. I feel I’m the winner. I didn’t lose this fight.
In the video below, Dvalishvili is seen moving his legs as Simon tightens his grip on his opponent, but this wasn't enough to convince the Kerrigan who adjudged that the 27-year-old had gone unconscious under Simon's guillotine. The judges called the fight a TKO at 5:00 of the third round, the latest ever stoppage in a three round UFC fight.
Somehow he didn't tap ? pic.twitter.com/tBk6I2db3u
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) April 22, 2018