The bell to end the third and fight-deciding round sounded. Eddie Gordon raised his arms in victory. Cathal Pendred did the same.
This is a common scene in mixed martial arts. Boxing, too. The fight is over, the judges are now responsible for rendering a verdict on the the action before them for the past 15 minutes. Each fighter wants to project a positive image in those moments, one of confidence that their work was better than the fighter on the other side of the cage. (Not that it makes a difference with scoring.)
But only one hand can be raised by the referee to signify the winner. On this night, in this fight, that hand was connected to the arm and body of Freeport's Eddie Gordon.
Gordon, a middleweight, won a split decision over Pendred in the semifinal round of Season 19 of "The Ultimate Fighter." The judges scored the bout 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
Gordon advances to the live Ultimate Finale on July 6 in Las Vegas, with a guaranteed UFC contract at stake. He will fight the winner of Dhiego Lima vs. Roger Zapata. Although that fight took place several months ago in real life, as did Gordon's, the show is taped in advance and shown over the course of several months.
Gordon, a Serra-Longo fighter, lost the first round on Wednesday night's episode after being taken down several times by Pendred. In the second round, Pendred went for a spinning back fist and missed. Gordon ducked under it and took Pendred to the ground where he kept him for two minutes or so and landed enough fists and elbows to win the round and force a deciding sudden-victory third round.
In the third round, Gordon landed some good shots. In the third round, Pendred landed some good shots. When that bell sounded, and all four arms were raised in the air, it was 50/50 as to who would give the happy interview on camera after the decision was announced and who would be shown dejected and dismayed.
Gordon got the decision. Pendred got the dejection.