Magomed Ankalayev thinks he should leave UFC 282 as the new lightweight champion, but instead he’ll walk away angry and confused without a title wrapped around his waist.
In a fierce battle over five rounds, the Russian seemed to be tired of former champion Jan Balashovich, but the judges disagreed. When the final scores were recorded, judge Mike Bell gave the fight 48-47 to Blachowicz, judge Derek Cleary had it 48-46 for Ankalaev and judge Sal D’Amato finally scored it 47-47, meaning the fight was declared a split. to draw. .
A closer look at the scoreboard showed that D’Amato had already scored Blakhović’s first three rounds, but he gave Ankalayev a 10-8 in the fifth, making it 47-47.
A disgruntled Ankalaev then expressed his frustration while hinting that he may never return to the UFC again after the disappointing decision.
I don’t know what to say, I won this fight, – said Ankalaev. “Why didn’t I get my belt? I don’t know what to say. I can’t choose the judges for the fight, but I won this fight. Where’s my belt?”
“I don’t know if I’ll fight for this organization again because I don’t know what just happened. I don’t know what you want me to say. Honestly, I don’t know what to say. Maybe we’ll go back to take what’s ours.”
For his part, Balashović appeared resigned after the loss despite the referee, even saying that Ankalayev should go to the title regardless of the judges’ scorecards.
“I have to watch the fight, but I’m definitely not the winner,” said Blachowicz. “I don’t feel like a winner. I’m not the judge.
The title fight largely took place in two halves with Blachowicz setting the tone early with a ferocious series of leg kicks and then Ankalaev using his hook to turn the tables late on.
Going into the 25-minute battle, it was a contest of speed versus strength as Ankalaev stunned rapid-fire combos as well as a notable forehand that continually landed in his opponent’s stomach. In return, Blachowicz fired again with an insane knockout that left Ankalaev with bruises and swelling in his right eye.
Ankalaev’s Methodical Approach While looking for the counters, Blachowicz was always looking for an opening for straight punches and a well-timed move.
Blachowicz also targeted the main leg with a brutal series of kicks that were already beginning to take its toll on Ankalaev visibly injured from the repeated shots that landed. At one point, Ankalaev stumbled from the heavy kicks, forcing him to change stance in an attempt to avoid further damage.
With his footing compromised, Ankalaev had to become more aggressive and the strategy began to bear fruit, though he still had to be careful how much power would come to him from Blachowicz.
Despite his best efforts, Ankalaev could not stop the kicks as Blachowicz deflected off the front leg that was open in the orthodox or south stance. This led to Ankalaev really pressing Blachowicz, closing the distance and then setting up a hold or attempting a takedown.
With the fight over in the championship rounds, Ankalaev planted Blachowicz to the canvas as he looked to turn the momentum in his favor. Ankalaev worked to catch up to the back but mostly kept control as Blachowicz seemed to be hanging on with little hope of escaping.
A slide on the lunge sent Blachowicz back to the floor with Ankalaev dominating the top as the seconds began to crown a new lightweight champion. Blachowicz seemed to box with Ankalaiev full of punches in an effort to secure a late finish, though the former champ refused to let it go until the fight was close to scoring.
While all signs pointed to Ankalaev getting the nod, the referees disagreed, and now the UFC Light Heavyweight title is left vacant with no clear path to what exactly might happen next.
It would also create a huge roadblock for Glover Teixeira as he was set to face the winner of the main event at UFC 282, but now Ankalaev and Blachowicz could be headed to a rematch straight away.