Yan says ‘f*** judges’ as fans claim Russian was robbed at UFC 280
Russian bantamweight Petr Yan has lashed out at the judges after being on the wrong end of a split decision against American rival Sean O’Malley at UFC 280 in Ab Dhabi on Saturday night.
Yan had been hoping to get his title ambitions back on track with victory over surging 135lbs contender O’Malley, but after three rounds of fighting the outcome of their contest went to the scorecards.
O’Malley was given the nod 29-28 on two of the cards, while the other was scored 29-28 in favor of Yan.
The Russian cut a dismayed figure as soon as the result was read out at the Etihad Arena.
O’Malley had been an awkward proposition throughout the fight with his height and reach advantage, finding success with his jab and opening up a nasty gash near Yan’s right eye with a vicious knee strike.
But former bantamweight champion Yan had success of his own on the feet, generally pressing the pace of the fight and taking ‘Suga’ O’Malley to the ground on several occasions.
The bout won ‘Fight of the Night’ honors as both men left it all inside the octagon, but the outcome clearly did not sit well with Yan.
“F** the judges,” tweeted the Russian in the aftermath of the contest.
Yan earned strong support from fans and fellow fighters online, who similarly took issue with the scoring.
“Judges in Abu Dhabi are f****** careers up,” tweeted former welterweight title contender Jorge Masvidal.
“Man… Suga showed toughness and had a great fight but he didn’t win that fight,” added former middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
Former two-weight ruler Henry Cejudo went as far as to claim that the result was the “worst robbery in UFC history,” adding: “I hope our sport doesn’t become boxing.”
O’Malley suggested in his own post-fight comments that the outcome could have gone either way.
“I didn’t know honestly [if I had won],” said the 27-year-old.
“Fighting is the craziest f****** sport in the world. That’s what happens when you fight the number one guy in the world.
“I was hurt more than I’ve ever been in a fight. I was definitely rocked.”
Yan, 29, had claimed before the fight that O’Malley was a “UFC project,” with promotion chief Dana White suggesting that the American had superstar potential for his colorful persona.
Yan had also felt hard done by in his last trip to the octagon back in April, when he lost a split decision against Aljamain Sterling in their title rematch.
Yan had previously lost the 135lbs belt for an illegal knee strike in his first fight with Sterling in March 2021, before bouncing back against Cory Sandhagen last October.
Saturday’s defeat in Abu Dhabi was Yan’s third loss in 11 UFC bouts and a fourth in his 20-fight professional MMA career.
‘No Mercy’ will now have to rebuild as he plots a potential return to the bantamweight summit.
O’Malley, who was ranked number 11 in the bantamweight fold heading into the fight with Yan, could now be on the brink of a title shot against Sterling after improving his professional record to 16 wins, one loss and one no contest.
Sterling defended his status as bantamweight ruler with a one-sided win in the UFC 280 co-main event against two-time former champion TJ Dillashaw, who was struggling badly with a shoulder injury.