UFC light heavyweight title remains vacant after draw
LAS VEGAS — The light heavyweight title went vacant Saturday night after judges awarded the main event of UFC 282 such a contentious draw that both fighters, Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev, agreed that Ankalaev should have won the belt.
During the post-fight interview in the octagon, No. 3 Blachowicz (29-9-1) walked up to fourth-seeded Ankalaev (18-1-1) and told him he deserved the belt.
Ankalaev was so upset by the decision that he said through a Russian interpreter that he didn’t know if he was “going to fight again in this organization”.
“I won this fight,” Ankalaev said. “I won the belt. Where is my belt?
Judge Mike Bell scored the fight 48-47 for Blachowicz, Derek Cleary 48-46 for Ankalaev and Sal D’Amato 47-47.
Blachowicz seemed embarrassed by the decision.
“Maybe we can have a rematch,” Blachowicz said sheepishly. “I don’t choose the judges.
The co-main event also went to the scorecards, and there was also broad disagreement among fans on the outcome of that fight.
Even though Blachowicz-Ankalaev was the main event, a large part of the crowd came out to watch England’s Paddy Pimblett in the co-main event. American Jared Gordon, 34, had other ideas, dictating the tempo in the lightweight match even as the crowd repeatedly shouted, “Let’s go, Paddy!”
But even much of the crowd struggled to believe the decision, with many booing Pimblett (20-3) winning 29-28 on all three judges’ cards. Gordon shook his head and laughed as the scores were announced.
“It wasn’t that close,” Pimblett insisted. “I rode on the third lap because I knew I had already won the first two.”
The brash 27-year-old has become a polarizing figure in the UFC, but has backed up his words with his performances in the cage to date, even getting a major benefit of the judges’ doubt over Gordon (19-6). It was Pimblett’s first time fighting for the third round since joining the UFC in September 2021.
As for the main event, Blachowicz and Ankalaev weren’t expected to be the headliners, but light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka dropped out due to a shoulder injury. The second-ranked Glover Teixeira declined to fight Blachowicz, vacating the title and elevating that bout to a championship bout.
The fight was tied through the first two rounds, but Blachowicz started to get the upper hand in the third with his kicks that weakened Ankalaev. Then Ankalaev took the Polish fighter to the ground with about five seconds left and came out swinging in the fourth.
Ankalaev brought Blachowicz down with just over three minutes left and kept him there for the rest of the fourth, but couldn’t get a submission.
Again in the fifth, Ankalaev took out the aggressor throwing punches and quickly putting Blachowicz to the ground, where it became a wrestling match the rest of the way.
“I did everything to get this win,” Ankalaev said.
Fighting for the championship was nothing new for Blachowicz, who won the belt in September 2020 with a technical knockout from Dominick Reyes. However, Blachowicz lost the title when Teixeira defeated him via second-round submission in October 2021.
It was Ankalaev’s first title shot, and he was nearly undefeated in that match. He was ahead on the scorecards in a 2018 fight against Paul Craig but was submitted with a second left.
Raul Rosas Jr., 18, became the youngest UFC fighter to win a match when he forced fellow American Jay Perrin, 29, into submission by rear naked choke at 2:44 of the first round of the bantamweight fight. Rosas asked in the post-fight interview if UFC President Dana White could offer him a $50,000 bonus so he could buy his mom a van to transport him to the UFC. Performance Institute.
New York Post