The fight between Luis Saldana and Sean Woodson probably shouldn’t have gone three rounds. But after a bizarre sequence of events, the UFC 278 preliminary went the distance – and ended just as bizarrely as it started.
The fight got off to a weird start when Saldana knocked down Woodson with a short left hook. Woodson was in all kind of trouble, and was hurt even worse when a follow-up jab from Saldana landed flush and sent him tumbling to the mat.
Saldana needed only to land a few follow-up shots from top position to seal the victory. Instead, he fired a blatantly illegal knee that briefly put Woodson out. Rather than call off the bout, referee Mike Beltran called the foul and deducted a point from Aldana, giving Woodson another chance to get back in the fight.
Woodson did just that in the second round, wrapping up a buggy choke that tied up Aldana for the end of the second round. When the tap didn’t come, the two settled into a somewhat pedestrian rhythm that ended with a split draw, with one judge scoring it 29-27 for Aldana, another scoring it 29-27 for Woodson, and the third having it dead even at 28-28.
Here’s what fighters had to say about the first-round sequence and the ending.
This fight should be over as a no contest, Saldana is the dumbest fighter I've ever seen #ufc278— Joe Joe Giannetti (@Giannettimma) August 21, 2022
Saldana had it wrapped up but ego got the best of him. Legit the same thing that happened to me with Woodson at the contender series. I tried to show off and be flashy for Dana and it backfired— Terrance ‘T Wrecks’ McKinney (@twrecks155) August 21, 2022
That man should be straight up DQd, he walked into that with time to make a calculated decision #UFC278— Damien Brown (@beatdown155) August 21, 2022
That whole sequence from knocking him down the first time to the point was like. Wtf is Saldana doing there ? Didn’t jump on him, dropped him again and threw a blatant illegal knee. Weird decision making through the whole process #UFC278— Casey Oneill (@kingcaseymma) August 21, 2022
Omg an illegal knee ! What the fuck, that wasn’t even close to being legal #UFC278— Casey Oneill (@kingcaseymma) August 21, 2022
Illegal knee! Good call ref!— Julia Avila (@RagingPandaMMA) August 21, 2022
let’s go Sean Woodson ps I didn’t get knocked out I just failed to break his knee with my head ♂️— Terrance ‘T Wrecks’ McKinney (@twrecks155) August 21, 2022
Split draw is fine. I’m not mad at. There’s been more split draws recently this year. I respect the judges actually watching the fights.— Julia Avila (@RagingPandaMMA) August 21, 2022
Also, Saldana shouldn’t knee a grounded opponent.
Draws are garbage it means neither fighter gets their win money and it doesn’t move their career forward so it’s a huge waste of time and expense— Terrance ‘T Wrecks’ McKinney (@twrecks155) August 21, 2022