Remember, it was #2 Sakio Bika vs. #3 Sam Soliman. The winner will face Jaidon Codrington next week for the championship, live on ESPN.
Round 1: It was pretty even for the first minute, but Bika started to turn things up with a few good shots. Late in the round, Soliman started to get things going, including a decent uppercut. Thanks to a bunch of good shots by Bika at the last second, I gave him the round, 10-9.
Round 2: Soliman got off to an OK start, but Bika clobbered him several seconds later with a few real strong shots. Bika later got Soliman down to the ground, but it was ruled a slip, not a knockdown. 20-18 Bika after two.
Round 3: Soliman had his best start in a round thus far. But again, Bika fired up in the middle of the round. I decided to give 10s to both fighters this round, so my scorecard after three was 30-28 Bika.
Round 4: This time, it was Bika who got off to a pretty good start, but things looked up for Soliman near the middle of the round. I decided to give Soliman this round, making my score 39-38 Bika.
Round 5: It was even until Soliman unleashed a combination of 4-5 good punches on Bika! Thus, I had the score at 48 all after five rounds.
Round 6: Soliman got off to his usual good start. He kept it up at the midpoint of the round when one of his strong shots sent Bika back first against the ropes! At this point, I had Soliman in the lead, 58-57.
Round 7: Soliman landed a good shot to the jaw early. Then, he hit Bika nicely in the jaw and the upper part of the chest. 68-66 Soliman heading into the last round.
Final Round: Soliman had another decent start, but was warned by the ref for holding the back of Bika's head while he was punching. There was no knockout the rest of the way out, so I had Soliman winning the fight, 78-75.
Now, for the actual judges' scores. Two scored it 78-74, while the other had it 77-75. The winner, and facing Codrington in the championship, was....
...Sakio Bika! Second time this season I blew the fight scoring.