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TEMECULA, Calif. – Saad Awad isn’t outraged that he didn’t take the nod over Brandon Girtz in Bellator 219’s headliner. Although he thought it was possible he’d done enough to win, Awad could also see the reasons why the judges would have seen it Girtz’s way.
But, as he went over Friday’s headliner and its outcome with reporters at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, Calif., Awad (23-11 MMA, 11-8 BMMA) had issues with the one judge that scored all three rounds of the war in Girtz’s (16-8 MMA, 8-6 BMMA) favor.
“I did get dropped in the first, I don’t know if it was twice, but I felt like I got back up and controlled the rest of the round,” Awad assessed. “Second, I felt like I won that round. There was a 30-27 scorecard, I don’t know where the hell that came from. So whoever was that, they need to get fired. It was probably a (expletive) boxing judge.
“That’s (expletive)d up. Like I said, it could have went either way, but when you have a judge like that, that’s doing something like that, it’s (expletive)d up to the sport. Because the third round, I felt like I controlled the whole round and he did drop me and he was on top. So I felt like that gave him the edge in that round. Each round was close, he did enough to win in the judges’ decisions and came out with the win.”
Although Awad was able to put on the type of fan-pleasing scrap that he’d anticipated, he was, understandably, disappointed with his second loss in a row. “It sucks,” Awad said candidly of the post-loss feeling, but he was still sure to extend his opponent some respect.
“Hats off to him, the dude is a monster,” Awad said. “We gave the fans the fight they wanted to see. Like I said, if it went three rounds, they’re going to win this one and I feel like they won.”
The feelings were mutual, as Girtz made sure to repeatedly praise Awad in his own chat with reporters backstage. Although he was, much like Awad, already anticipating a hard battle against a tough foe, Girtz admitted he didn’t quite expect the “Assassin” to be able to escape his top control or get back up in a few separate moments.
One of those moments was in the third round, when, stunned by a right hand, Awad hung on to Girtz’s leg as he unleashed strikes under the referee’s close watch. As it turns out, Awad was expecting the fight to be stopped at that point, though for different reasons.
“I thought the ref was going to stop it, because it was in the back of the head,” Awad said. “He did have control, I couldn’t get up, I’m going to be honest with you. But, at the same time, I was getting punched in the back of the head. So I was like, ‘OK, I can’t get up. So the ref – he’s not stopping because I can’t get up, but I’m getting punched in the back of the head, maybe he’ll stop because of this.’
“The ref let it go, I guess I’ve got to go back and watch and see if maybe I was wrong, but I felt them in the back of the head.”
Ultimately, Girtz and Awad put on the type of battle that made a lot of fans wish there were another two rounds. And though it’s hard to make predictions on what could have been, Awad did believe he was gaining momentum and slowing Girtz down, which could have made for a different outcome if there was a little more time.
As for the chance of getting another three rounds – like, say, in a rematch? We have no idea if that’s ever happening, but Awad did just give fans a reason to hope that it does.
“If we had a rematch we’d probably fight the same exact way,” Awad said. “It’s in our blood. We fight. We fight. We’re both fighters. He walks out with a gladiator vest for a reason. The man is a gladiator. And I came to fight, you know? Fighting is in my blood. I’m from Palestine, Gaza. We’re still fighting. Everyone knows that.”
To hear more from Awad, check out the video above.
News | MMA Junkie