Just seconds into the third round of their prelim fight Saturday night at UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen, Ovince St. Preux landed a poke to the eye of Gian Villante.
The referee didn’t appear to see the poke, and Villante backed up, saying he couldn’t see. The bout was stopped, called and sent to the scorecards despite the third round only being seconds old.
St. Preux was awarded a majority technical decision, and Villante was left wondering what might have been.
“I couldn’t see. He did poke me in the eye, so I don’t know,” Villante said. “He said the fight was over and I didn’t expect that because I was just reacting to his question. I got poked and my eye was closed up, so I thought he would stop it, but he didn’t; he just kind of looked at me.
“I don’t understand how you score 30 seconds of a round and that’s how I lost? We were just getting going and I got poked in the eye. I don’t know what to say.”
St. Preux, a former college football player like Villante, said, “Stuff happens, but I don’t think they should’ve stopped the fight. I would’ve won the third round.”