Marlon Sandro was victimized by the “must decision.” | Photo: Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog.com
Sengoku “Ninth Battle”
Aug. 2, 2009 | Saitama, Japan
Heading into his first-round tournament showdown with Omigawa, Sandro was riding a decent wave of momentum. A 14-fight tear, including highlight-reel finishes in his last two outings, had positioned the Nova Uniao product as a breakout star in the featherweight division. Perhaps the only thing stealing Sandro’s shine was the emergence of teammate and then WEC 145-pound king Jose Aldo.
That remained true until something called the “must decision” happened. While Sandro used his reach to land punches with more power and volume than his Japanese adversary, Omigawa displayed his toughness by absorbing everything “The Gladiator” had to offer. His lunging retorts, coupled with some tenacious clinch work, kept the fight reasonably competitive, although it still appeared Sandro had the edge after 15 minutes.
However, only judge Masanori Ohashi saw it that way, giving the Brazilian a 30-29 nod on his scorecard. Omigawa’s ability to stay in the fight was rewarded by Kenichi Serizawa and Takashi Kobayahsi, as both scored the contest a 30-30 draw. Of course, with this being a tournament, deadlocked scorecards required the judges to render a “must decision.” Somehow, both Serizawa and Kobayashi took the opportunity to side with Omigawa.
In an interview with MMAmania.com, Sandro cried foul, claiming that Omigawa’s coach was a partner with Sengoku. He also believed the “must decision” rule never should have come into play.
“In my mind, I did not lose any round,” Sandro said. “I connected more punches than him and I fight much more aggressive than him.”
As it turned out, Omigawa was unable to capitalize on his good fortune. He dropped a split decision to Masanori Kanehara in the tournament final.
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