If ever a controversial result has been worth an appeal, Gunnar Nelson’s loss this past Sunday at the hands, or more specifically, fingers, of Santiago Ponzinibbio, is certainly one.
The welterweight pair collided this past weekend, headlining UFC Fight Night 113 at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. Iceland’s Nelson (16-3-1) lost out to Ponzinibbio (25-3) via first round knockout. However, the 30-year-old Argentine’s fifth consecutive triumph has since come under scrutiny.
Nelson, aged 28, initially complained of eye pokes following the bout and the Mjölnir MMA team will likely announce an appeal this week with stirring evidence having been produced, conclusively showing a series of clear, reckless eye pokes of which significantly impaired the fighter’s vision during exchanges on the feet and in the climaxing seconds where a final poke lead to Nelson being unable to defend himself.
A total of four clear pokes can be counted, two in each eye and even including a double poke with two of Ponzinibbio’s extended fingers simultaneously striking both of Nelson’s eyes. The below video breaks down the bout, highlighting the numerous fouls. Judging by the footage, Nelson was fortunate to escape significant injury.
Furthermore, Ponzinibbio’s hand movements were a direct infringement of the recently introduced ‘Extended Fingers’ rule of which was introduced to the ABC’s Unified Rules of MMA this year in order to reduce eye pokes in competition.
“In the standing position, a fighter that moves their arm(s) toward their opponent with an open hand, fingers pointing at the opponent’s face/eyes, will be a foul. Referees are to prevent this dangerous behavior by communicating clearly to fighters. Fighters are directed to close their fists or point their fingers straight in the air when reaching toward their opponent.”