- Gleison Tibau eked out a controversial split decision win over Rory MacDonald in the main event of PFL 5 on Thursday.
- The judges scored the fight 29-28, 29-28, and 28-29 in favor of the Brazilian.
- MacDonald was a heavy betting favorite in the bout, entering the cage as high as -1000 in some of the best MMA sports books.
MacDonald opened as a -600 betting favorite while Tibau came back at +400. On fight night, the odds became more lopsided in favor of the former Bellator welterweight champion.
On fight night, MacDonald went as high as +1000 while Tibau floated at around +535 in the best MMA betting sites.
The Canadian did what he was supposed to do in the cage. However, the judges – or two of them to be precise, saw the fight differently. They scored the fight 29-28, 29-28, and 28-29 in favor of Tibau. While the scores were bein read, it was obvious that MacDonald was surprised.
— PFL (@PFLMMA) June 18, 2021
The decision was a shocker and MacDonald called it a clear robbery that “needs to be looked into”.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) June 18, 2021
It was certainly a controversial decision by the judges as MacDonald was in control of the bout from start to finish. He pushed Tibau around the cage with his superb striking skills while mixing some grappling exchanges that highlighted his BJJ pedigree. He took Tibau’s back several times in the fight, trying to get a finish.
To his credit, Tibau didn’t back down. He survived MacDonald’s onslaught and was able to land his own punches, although they were much fewer. The Brazilian really had a hard time dealing with MacDonald’s speed and footwork, especially when the Canadian was on the attack.
PFL stats revealed that MacDonald outstruck Tibau 81-32 in total strikes landed. Although MacDonald had a huge edge in leg strikes at 31-2, he also outpunched Tibau 48-30 in total arm strikes landed. MacDonald even landed the only takedown in the fight.
Here Are the Scorecards
— Michael Stets (@Michael_Stets) June 18, 2021
A copy of the official scorecard revealed that judges Cardo Urso and Dave Tirelli scored rounds 1 and 3 for Tibau while judge Eric Colon scored the first two rounds for MacDonald.
The scorecard reveal that all three judges agreed that Macdonald won round two and they were also unanimous in saying that Tibau won the final round. The discrepancy in scoring lies in the opening round which MacDonald didn’t just dominate with his striking but which he finished in a dominant position:
— PFL (@PFLMMA) June 18, 2021
If you watch the video closely, the PFL strike stats show that Macdonald outstruck Tibau 35 to 14 when he took his back and went for the choke. If the fight had an easiest round to score, it should’ve been round one. However, two of the three judges gave the round to Tibau and that was the difference in the fight.
How did you score round 1 of that bout? And the rest of the fight? Do you agree with Rory MacDonald that he was robbed by the judges at PFL 5?