After a gutsy, bloody brawl between Cristiano Marcello and Reza Madadi ended with a controversial split decision, Luiz Cane and Chris Camozzi entered the cage and found themselves in a similarly awkward bout.
The battle between an up-and-coming 25-year-old and a five-year UFC veteran dropping from light heavyweight to middleweight started strong with a first round filled with hard punches and technical Brazilian jiu-jitsu. From there, though, things got weird, as Cane constantly backed away from the younger fighter before landing numerous hard straights in the third round.
Things wrapped up with the second controversial decision of the night, as Camozzi had his hand raised after seemingly losing the first and third rounds. So what did we learn from this odd fight?
Luiz Cane Was Scared of Chris Camozzi
Three of Cane's four wins in the UFC came by punching dudes unconscious. Not just any dudes, either, but light heavyweights. Even though Luiz Cane dropped down to middleweight to face Chris Camozzi, whose hands are not as heavy and whose grappling game is not on par with his own, Luiz Cane seemed scared.
Was it nerves from fighting in his hometown? Was he scared a knockout loss would get him jettisoned from the UFC? Was he wary of his conditioning in his first bout at 185 lbs? Who knows?
Either way, Luiz Cane backpedaled for a huge majority of the fight. The judges decided that was enough to give him a loss.
The Judges Are Going to be Silly Tonight
All that said, Luiz Cane did more than enough, in the opinion of this writer, to win the fight.
In the first round, Camozzi landed better, cleaner hits, but Luiz Cane dominated him on the ground long enough that the first round should have gone to Cane. Camozzi had Cane fighting scared throughout the second and got the better end of the exchanges, earning a 10-9 second round for the American. The third round was a back-and-forth endeavor where Cane landed several hard shots. This would break down to a plain-and-simple 29-28 scoring in favor of Cane.
Honestly, after the first match between Marcello and Madadi broke controversially in favor of the Brazilian, I thought the judges might be showing a bit of favoritism to the “home team.” Evidently, they just don't know what they're doing.
Camozzi Should Not Get a Step Up in Competition
Even though Camozzi now has a three-fight winning streak in the UFC, he simply did not show anything in this fight that screamed he should be on the title track. This is a great time to be a prospect in the middleweight division because there are so many name-brand veterans sitting on their couches right now that a young fighter can challenge to build his name.
While an electrifying win over Cane would have warranted a fight against somebody like Wanderlei Silva or the loser of Cung Le vs. Rich Franklin, Camozzi simply did not do enough to show that he is deserving of a main card fight. He is still a young'un at just 25 years old, but this was his first shot against a legitimate opponent and he floundered mightily.
Camozzi is still a great prospect for the UFC's middleweight division, and could certainly become a legitimate competitor in a few years. Right now, though? Not so much.
Luiz Cane May Be Getting Cut
Sure, this was a controversial loss for Luiz Cane. That, though, does not take away from the fact that he is 2-4 in the last three years. It is an unfortunate fact, and with Strikeforce possibly getting shut down in the next few months (their January show may be their last hurrah), there is little reason for the UFC to keep him.
Zuffa has cut superior middleweights for much less than going 1-4 in their last five fights. Just ask Gerald Harris.
The UFC needs to brace itself for the coming addition of Luke Rockhold, Roger Gracie, Ronaldo Souza, Robbie Lawler, Tim Kennedy and Lorenz Larkin. There are only has so many fights to go around, and an unexciting middleweight is as expendable as anyone right now.