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Controversy rages as Russian star’s UFC title fight ends in a draw – Reuters

Russian Magomed Ankalaev was denied the UFC light heavyweight title in controversial circumstances after his main event against Poland’s Jan Blachowicz at UFC 282 in Las Vegas ended in a draw by shared decision.

Dagestan fighter Ankalaev appeared to have gotten the better of former champion Blachowicz as the pair squared off for the vacant 205lb title.

After the fight, the Pole already appeared to concede defeat to Ankalaev in anticipation that the Russian would get the judges’ decision.

But the scorecards caused a shock when judge Mike Bell awarded the contest 48-47 to Blachowicz, while his counterpart Derek Cleary judged it 48-46 for Ankalaev.

Judge Sal D’Amato scored 47-47 – meaning the contest was declared a draw.

“I don’t know what to say, I won this fight” said Ankalaev.

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Ankalaev’s opponent agreed, with Blachowicz interrupting the Russian’s interview with UFC pundit Joe Rogan in the cage to say: “Give the belt to Ankalaev.”

“I agree,” Rogan said in response.

Ankalaev, 30, was so disappointed with the decision that he suggested the fight could be his last with the UFC.

“They have to check the judges…I don’t know what they were looking for in making such a decision. I don’t know what to say” said Ankalaev.

Blachowicz, 39, said: “I have to watch the fight, but for sure I didn’t win the fight. I don’t know if I lost the fight… I don’t feel like I’m the winner, but I’m not the judge.

Ankalaev and Blachowicz were vying for the light heavyweight title at T-Mobile Arena after champion Jiri Prochazka vacated with a long-lasting shoulder injury.

UFC President Dana White stoked more resentment when he told the media that the vacant light heavyweight title would be challenged by former veteran champion Glover Teixeira and American Jamahal Hill in the UFC. 283 in Brazil next month.

White claimed that the main fight between Ankalaev and Blachowicz was “terrible.”

Blachowicz had started the strongest fight, winning with a punishing series of leg kicks that compromised Ankalaev.

But the Russian began to impose himself more and more, using his fighting strengths.

Ankalaev dominated the championship heats and attempted a late finish beating Blachowicz from top position as time ticked away, but the Pole survived to see the bell.

Then came the controversy as the scorecards failed to crown a new champion.

It wasn’t the only controversial judgment of the night in Las Vegas, as British fighter Paddy Pimblett picked up a decisive victory over American Jared Gordon in the co-main event – a result many called “flight.”

Ankalaev, who was hoping to join fellow Dagestani Islam Makhachev as the current UFC champion, saw his professional record slip to 18 wins, one loss and one draw.

Blachowicz’s career record now shows 29 wins, nine losses and one draw.

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