SBG’s Gunnar Nelson explained the claim in speaking to the press after his vicious loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio on Sunday night.
The first round knockout loss was Nelson’s third of his MMA career, as the jiu-jitsu expert opted to trade punches with the dangerous knockout artist in Ponzinibbio. Despite some success early on, the Iceland native was eventually stunned by a right hand, which his opponent was able to capitalise on, earning a TKO victory.
It was the first exchange just seconds into the fight that Nelson was keen to address immediately when he arrived at the post-fight press conference.
His Argentine foe lunged in just as Nelson threw an uppercut. The punch landed, but Santiago’s hand did land very close on Nelson’s eye, which Gunnar immediately started rubbing. The Ireland-based welterweight continued on without bringing it to the attention of the referee, something which he now regrets.
“Right in the beginning I caught him with an uppercut, an uppercut left hook or something”, Nelson said.
“I saw I caught him, but he caught me with a left thumb or something to my right eye at the same time, so I was seeing double. Because I caught him I thought I have him on the run there – I can finish this fight.
I think that was the biggest mistake I done in this fight.
“I’m not saying if not for that I would have seen the shot coming, but it is what it is.
Even though I was seeing double, I was able to land a couple more shots, but then he catches me with a nice right hand.”
Gunnar Nelson says he was poked in the eye in his post-fight comments. pic.twitter.com/Q8RKTCc6co
— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) July 16, 2017
The loss halts Nelson’s momentum in the UFC’s welterweight division, as a defeat to title challenger Demian Maia was followed by wins over Albert Tumenov and Alan Jouban.
The interview can be seen below from the 16:30 mark via the UFC on YouTube.