For five minutes, Andre Fili schooled Daniel Pineda in striking and looked to be well on his way to a stoppage finish. Then his accidental eyepoke rendered Pineda unable to see, and a conclusion was denied 46 seconds into the second round.
Pineda failed two checks of his vision by the cageside referee, incorrectly guessing the number of fingers held up by the official. Referee Herb Dean then stopped the bout, ruling the fight a no-contest because the foul was ruled accidental and not enough time had elapsed for judges to deliver scorecards.
“I put everything I had into this,” Fili said afterward. “I feel like I did everything right, except for this one stupid slip.”
Fili said his hand slipped as he pushed off Pineda’s chest in the heat of an early exchange, and his fingers went right into his opponent’s eye. Coupled with a bad cut opened in the first, Pineda was unable to open his eye when the bout was stopped on the foul.
Pineda protested the doctor and referee’s decision and called for a rematch.
“I guess he was f*cking me up,” he said. “I think we could have kept on going. I can see. My eyes are a little blurry. I think we need to do that again.”
The veteran fighter was nearly finished after a straight right sent him to the canvas early in the first. Fili followed up with a spectacular combination that included two head kicks and opened Pineda’s bad cut. Pineda tried to wrestle the fight to the ground, but settled for leg kicks that visibly hurt Fili.
It was shaping up to be a great fight before the unfortunate end.