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Gregory Rodrigues' UFC 292 Win Marred In Controversy After Apparent Illegal Strike, MMA Twitter Reacts

UFC middleweight Gregory Rodrigues finished Denis Tiuliulin on the UFC 292 prelims, but it didn’t happen without controversy.

Rodrigues defeated Tiuliulin by first-round TKO by landing several brutal elbow strikes from back mount. Once he secured Tiuliulin’s back, he landed a series of elbows that appeared to land on the side, and potentially on the back, of Tiuliulin’s head.

Strikes to the back of the head are illegal in MMA, but referee Bryan Miner didn’t rule Rodrigues’ strikes as infractions. The UFC 292 broadcast team, including analysts Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier, pointed out that two of Rodrigues’ final elbows appeared to hit the back of the head.


— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) August 20, 2023

The controversy clouded Rodrigues’ win and drew some strong reactions on social media.

MMA Twitter Debates Gregory Rodrigues’ Finishing Blow At UFC 292

Here’s what MMA Twitter had to say about Rodrigues’ elbows to Tiuliulin’s head.

Look at the head moving. That's the important aspect here. Even if it landed in an illegal spot, it's not illegal if the head moved and presented that spot.

— Seán Sheehan (@SeanSheehanBA) August 20, 2023

First elbow looked legal to me. And Brian Miner was right there. As Kevin MacDonald likes to say, you can hit the back of the head… in certain areas. #UFC292

— Paul Gift (@MMAanalytics) August 20, 2023

Illegal? #UFC292

— Roman Dolidze (@romandolidzeufc) August 20, 2023

Almost scalped him with that first one

— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) August 20, 2023

That shot was illegal #UFC292

— Stephie Haynes (@CrooklynMMA) August 20, 2023

Rodrigues got back in the win column after a first-round loss to Brunno Ferreira at UFC 283 earlier this year. Before that, he earned back-to-back wins over Chidi Njokuani and Julian Marquez.

As for Tiuliulin, he has now lost three of his last four fights, with the lone victory over the stint coming against Jamie Pickett at UFC 279. He debuted in the UFC last year following tenures in M-1 Challenge and UAE Warriors.

Rodrigues’ performance leading up to the final blows was impressive, although the way the fight ended will likely be debated for weeks.

Read Also: UFC 292: Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley Live Results & Highlights

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