LOS ANGELES–Israel Adesanya (65-3) was obviously disappointed he lost to Jason Wilnis (29-6-1) by unanimous decision at GLORY 37, but he was far from crestfallen after the bout. In fact, the Kiwi fighter remained confident that despite the controversial scoring, he proved he was the better man over the course of the five-round fight.
“I wouldn’t say [I’m] upset, because early on I said in one of the ‘Inside GLORY’s’ ‘f–k the belt. I’ll sh-t on the belt,'” Adesanya told MMA Plus in the locker room after the bout. “It’s a fancy tiara at the end of the day. I just wanted it because it meant more money, more exposure and all that. That is the only reason I wanted the belt. It still would’ve been nice to get the win, but the people know who the [real] champion is.”
Adesanya, 27, appeared to have landed more punches and was making the Middleweight champion miss quite often. “The Style Bender” acknowledged that he did get hit with several low kicks, but said they did not have any effect on him.
“I was like, ‘you know what, all he got was a few leg kicks,'” said Adesanya, who is now 2-2 in GLORY. “After I felt some of them I started checking them. Later on, two or three got through again, but I kept checking them. And yeah, the whole time, [I hit him with] southpaw straight lefts [and] straight lefts from down the pipe. I kept on catching him. So I thought, ‘I’m racking up points. I’m hitting him with clean shots.’ I sent his head flying a few times and I made it rain. With his sweat, I made it rain.
“I hit him with a knee and I hurt him as well. There was only one person that got hurt in that fight and that wasn’t me. Actually, no, [I hurt him] twice. The one that you guys saw I rocked him with something. The one you guys didn’t see was the body shot. It was a knee to the ribs and I heard the ‘uhhhhhhh’ from him. I tried to capitalize on it, but he had a game face and I wasn’t able to capitalize like I wanted to. But he was gracious in victory. So, yeah, he is a good fighter, but I am a better fighter.”
This certainly wasn’t the first GLORY main event marred with controversy and it likely won’t be the last either. Wilnis was the more aggressive fighter throughout the 15-minute bout and was constantly moving forward, which if past fights are any indicator, tends to lend to the judges scoring in favor of the aggressor.
Adesanya was asked if he feels the scoring criteria for GLORY needs to be more clearly defined.
“I think so,” he answered. “My last fight with GLORY against the tall guy … Yousri [Belgaroui] I called an audible in the final of the four-man tournament because I felt the judges would favor the fighter going forward. So, I just decided to press him instead of letting him press me just because I wanted to look good for the judges, but that’s not my style. This fight I wanted to do what I did: make him miss and make him pay. So I did that, but the judges just saw some guy moving forward and throwing shots. And who missed the most shots? Who landed the most shots? I feel that was me. Leg kicks were the main thing that landed. He got one shot on my lip and I can’t remember one other one and that was it.”
The head regulatory body for GLORY is the International Sport Karate Association (ISKA), which works in conjunction with state athletic commissions in the U.S. GLORY 37 took place in California, so the event fell under the jurisdiction of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC).
GLORY lists the priority of scoring criteria on their website as follows:
A. Number of knockdowns.
B. Damage inflicted on the opponent.
C. Number of clean strikes with spectacular techniques (flying and spinning techniques, etc.)
D. Number of clean strikes with normal techniques.
E. Degree of Aggressiveness or Ring Generalship (whichever has greater impact on the round)
So, according the prioritized criteria, the aggression of Wilnis would be last on the list. There were no knockdowns, so that means the judges likely weighed the low kicks of Wilnis as more effective than the strikes of Adesanya. However, Adesanya rocked Wilnis several times with knees to the body, which were impactful, and also snapped the Dutchman’s head back with uppercuts a few times too, on top of the other punches he was landing. In his eyes, those strikes were more damaging than the leg kicks landed by Wilnis.
“That should win the fight,” he said, adamantly. “I’m the one doing damage. I’m the one hurting him. All he had were some good leg kicks. The rest I saw coming. The leg kicks were off me starting or initiating the combo.”
The No.5-ranked GLORY Middleweight maintained once again that the leg kicks of Wilnis did not hurt him or restrict any of his movement.
“In the fight, not at all,” Adesanya explained. “Now I can feel them because the adrenaline is wearing down. In the fight they did not effect my movement at all.”
The Association of Boxing Commission just approved new changes to the unified rules of mixed martial arts and have made scoring criteria more clearly defined than in year’s past.
Adesanya thinks the same should happen for the scoring system in GLORY.
“I don’t know where the judges got their papers from or whatever, but there needs to be a revamp of the system. UFC is doing it. MMA is doing it. So I think kickboxing has to do it as well.”