UFC world responds to controversial title fight decision
Big names in the UFC, such as lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, have taken to social media to challenge a controversial decision that prevented Russian fighter Magomed Ankalaev from taking home the light heavyweight belt at UFC 282.
Ankalaev was taking on former champion Jan Blachowicz in the main event after the last holder of the title, Jiri Prochazka, pulled out and relinquished it due to a shoulder injury last month.
Following a sketchy second round where Polish powerhouse Blachowicz looked to have the edge after badly hurting his right leg with a series of kicks at the T-Mobile Arena, Dagestani Ankalaev showed off the elite wrestling that his region – which also produced Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov – is famous for to take the last two rounds in the eyes of many.
Enjoying 11 more minutes of control time than Blachowicz, Ankalaev also outlanded his foe by 182-79 in total strikes.
After the final buzzer rang, though, with Blachowicz immediately admitting defeat by raising his opponent’s hand, a split draw was granted by judge Mike Bell scoring the action 48-47 for Blachowicz, Derek Cleary seeing it 48-46 for Ankalaev, and Sal D’Amato going for 47-47.
Sharing a photo of the post-fight interviews where Blachowicz said he was “sure I didn’t win,” Makhachev remarked “I don't know what more he needed to do to win,” on Instagram regarding Ankalaev.
“Ankalaev won this fight. Give the man his f*****g belt,” tweeted heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, who had earlier revealed: “Usually when people are in training camp they stay away from me but Ankalaev was the only one to call me out for two rounds last week of training camp. He really wants this title.”
Another Dagestani, the up-and-coming Muhammad Mokaev, who moved to northwestern England as a child and is on a quest to becoming the youngest ever UFC champion, first tweeted a simple: “I think Ankalaev won.”
“As I fighter I feel very bad for Ankalaev, knowing that these judges would never step inside the cage themselves and at least cut weight once in their life and they’re making bullsh*t decisions like this,” he then added, alongside Ankalaev’s name with a gold medal plus an “and new” hashtag.
With president Dana White announcing that Glover Teixeira will face Jamahal Hill for the vacant strap at UFC 283 next month, Ankalaev will now have to rejoin the queue for another shot at the 205lbs crown.