Undefeated Australian Casey O’Neill spoiled Roxanne Modafferi’s final fight in the UFC and had a pointed message for the hostile Houston crowd.
It was a split-decision win for O’Neill, who broke her own record after finishing with 60, 64 and 50 significant strikes throughout the three rounds.
O’Neill outlanded Modafferi 229 to 120 in significant strikes but left her most brutal blow for the crowd.
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O’Neill knew and embraced her role heading into Sunday’s fight against the retiring hero, telling reporters: “I don’t care (about her retirement)… It doesn’t change anything for me”.
“My career goes on the same. This is just another step in my journey and what she does is on her. So I’m taking it nothing different than the rest of my fights,” she added.
That attitude was key for O’Neill on Sunday, not getting swept into the emotion of what it meant for her opponent and instead simply putting all her focus into getting the win.
When she did just that the crowd was not subtle in letting her know how they felt.
Neither was O’Neill though who took aim at the booing crowd.
O’Neill’s microphone was then seemingly cut off as she delivered expletive-laden parting words.
“If you want me to be the bad guy, then f*** you, I’ll be the f***ing bad guy,” she said, flipping the bird.
While there was plenty of praise for Modafferi in her final fight, the ESPN commentary team were left perplexed by judge Robert Alexander’s scorecard.
“In the nature of full transparency, Robert Alexander was the judge who though Roxanne Modafferi won that fight,” Jon Anik said.
“It’s just the fourth UFC decision that he has judged in the last two years. And I’ve got to think most of the scorecards around the world do not align with his.”
“I don’t think he should be judging MMA,” Michael Bisping added.
“Because that is crazy. You clearly see that was a great win for Casey O’Neill. Roxanne did great, showed a lot of heart, but she did not win that fight.”
“She didn’t win a round of that fight,” Daniel Cormier added.
“That judge does not know what he’s looking at,” Bisping replied.
It was not the only time Alexander found himself embroiled in controversy, scoring the later fight 29-28 for Jared Vanderaa despite Andrei Arlovski being widely-considered the clear winner.
Modafferi was classy as always speaking post-fight, proud of her efforts and accepting of the fact it is time to move on and let the new stars of the sport take over.
“I’m OK with that last fight,” she said.
“I gave everything I had. It’s time for me to pass the torch to the next generation. I’m proud of myself. Even if you don’t win every time, you can still have an amazing time.”