An illegal leg strike by Lando Vannata in the first round of his UFC 216 bout with Bobby Green was the difference between a Vannata victory and a draw on Saturday night.
Vannata, on the attack in the first round of their lightweight fight, threw a knee at the downed Green. The knee missed, but Vannata struck Green in the head with his inner thigh.
Any leg strike to the head of a downed fighter is illegal, and referee Herb Dean deducted Vannata a point.
The final scores at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena were 29-27 for Vannata; 29-27 for Green; and 28-28 for a draw. Minus the point deduction, the bout would have been a split decision for Vannata.
When the bout resumed, a classic weird and wild Bobby Green fight broke out, with Vannata ready to play the role. Vannata poured it on over the remained of the round, sinking in a tight choke late which Green escaped.
The final 10 minutes of the fight where a whirlwind of action in a bout which will no doubt be on the short list for Fight of the Night. Vannata landed at will to Green’s head, body, and legs during the second round. Green had a strong third round in which he poured it on to Vannata and bloodied him up; a huge combination in the closing seconds of the fight would have been bad news for Vannata if Green had another minute to work with.
With the decision, Green (23-8-1) snaps a three-fight losing streak; Vannata (9-2-1) is 1-1-1 in his past three.