Bryan Miner gave Ricci all three rounds for a 30-27 scorecard, while other judges Sal D’Amato and Derek Cleary both gave 29-28 scores to Godinez. As a result, Godinez had to eke out a split decision despite what seemed to be a fairly clear-cut win after three hard-fought rounds.
In the moment, Godinez didn’t totally realize what happened because Bruce Buffer announced the scorecards so quickly for the decision, but she definitely understood the controversy after watching the fight back for the first time.
“It’s always difficult right after the fight, especially to know all the shots that were landed and what happened,” Godinez said Monday on The MMA Hour. “But when I went back to the hotel, I watched the fight, I was like, oh wow.
“That was a scary moment. Yeah, it is [shocking]. Now that I watched the fight a few times, I’m like, I don’t know, maybe he went to the bathroom or something. I have no idea.”
Ricci did manage a couple of flash knockdowns in the first and second rounds, but even those didn’t amount to the same level of damage Godinez inflicted. Godinez gives her opponent credit, but she even disputes the knockdowns after re-watching the fight.
“If anything, let’s say they want to be nice to her, maybe the second round,” Godinez said. “But I do believe I won the three rounds. Once I saw the fight, I think I won the fight.
“There were two times where it looked like she dropped me or something like that. I threw a hook and I stepped this way and then with her shoulder, she hit me and that’s when I fall. She just kind of pushed me.”
Godinez accepts some responsibility for even allowing the fight to stay close enough to leave one judge questioning whether or not she was victorious, but then again she just doesn’t see how a 30-27 Ricci scorecard is possible. She out-landed Ricci in strikes in all three rounds and also stuffed six takedown attempts.
“I followed game plan, exactly what I did,” Godinez said. “That was the game plan — that was box it up, a few kicks here and there, if I wanted to shoot [for a takedown] it would be at the end of the round. We know she’s a black belt in judo and jiu-jitsu and she also did some kickboxing in the past. She had some history. She had her tool belt and everything. That was the game plan.
“Cutting her off, I knew as soon as I pressured too much she was going to shoot for a takedown. That’s why I knew as soon as I put too much pressure, I knew she was going to go for a takedown so we defended that. Exactly what we trained is exactly what happened.”
While it’s difficult to reconcile one judge so vehemently disagreeing with her performance, Godinez isn’t losing too much sleep over it now. She still got the win, even if the judge responsible stamped a needless split decision onto her record.
“It’s also my fault,” Godinez said. “Why am I letting this happen if I leave it to the judges? You know, when I hear the numbers and stuff, all I can think about is my team. It’s like, all this work we have put in, all the hours and all of that.
“I wish I can watch the fight while I was waiting because they took forever [to read the scores]. Like, oh my gosh, this is horrible but I didn’t know what was happening. I watched the fight and I’m like, ‘Wow, he didn’t watch it.’”
As far as making history as the first woman to ever win four UFC fights in the same calendar year, Godinez appreciates the praise but didn’t even know it happened.
“To be honest, I had no idea until after,” Godinez said. “People are like, ‘Do you know you’re the first woman in history for fighting and winning [four fights in the same year] in the UFC.’ I didn’t know until after.
“I guess I’m setting records by accident. Because I’m not meaning to make any records, I just love the sport, I love what I do. I show up and fight and these great things happen.”