‘Straight bulls***’: UFC stars SLAM ‘highway ROBBERY’ as Alexander Volkanovski retains featherweight title on split decision at UFC 251
Alexander Volkanovski retained his featherweight title with a contentious split decision victory over Max Holloway at UFC 251 on Fight Island.
The Australian earned his 19th straight MMA victory by the narrowest of margins as two of the three cards gave him the win by 47-48, leaving many fellow fighters and experts stunned on social media.
Middleweight contender Uriah Hall labelled the decision ‘straight bulls***’ and said: ‘You really can’t leave it to these judges.
UFC stars and fans were baffled by the judging as Alexander Volkanovski beat Max Holloway
Middleweight Urigah Hall was unequivocal in his verdict after watching Volkanovski’s victory
Former two-weight champion champion also appeared to have found the decision infuriating
Hall told Holloway: ‘That is highway robbery at its finest. You won that.’
Former flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo mocked Volkanovski in the aftermath of his debatable win, blasting: ‘You overgrown midget. You stole that one. I’ll make sure to stop you, you thief.’
Interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje said the result ‘makes zero sense’, while the likes of bantamweight Aljamain Sterling and heavyweight Francis Ngannou felt that Holloway had won three of the five rounds in Abu Dhabi.
Gilbert Burns, who had been due to headline the card before being diagnosed with Covid-19, said: ‘Max won.’
Interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje could not make sense of the judging decision
Bantamweight Aljamain Sterling was among those who felt Holloway had taken three rounds
Heavyweight powerhouse Francis Ngannou said that he concurred with Sterling’s assessment
UFC president Dana White, who was also unimpressed by the late stoppage that gave bantamweight Petr Yan victory over Jose Aldo, admitted in the post-event press conference: ‘We’ve got some bad judging.
‘Did anybody here score it for Volkanovski? Anybody? Nobody in the media? I don’t know. We’ll have to figure it out.
‘Looks like we’ve got to tighten up our refs and judges here on Fight Island.’
Volkanovski appeared to be losing going into the final round before two takedowns gave him the edge.
Middleweight Kelvin Gastelum declared Holloway the winner despite his controversial defeat
Fans wasted little time in weighing in with a torrent of jokes and memes about the controversy
Some viewers could not come up with a reason why Volkanovski should have been the winner
He earned his 19th consecutive MMA victory since 2013 by a razor-thin margin, winning 48-47 on two of the three cards when his leg kicks and takedowns earned the decision over Holloway’s overall striking game.
‘It was a tough fight,’ Volkanovski said. ‘He stood there and didn’t really take a backward step.
‘I couldn’t use the kicks as much as I liked. I knew I had to win that last round. It’s tough. He’s a gamer. We’re both hard workers, but I got the job done.’
The jokes continued to come in after the champion won by a point on two of the scorecards
The Australian champion won his belt last December with a virtuoso technical performance against Holloway (21-6), who had reigned atop the division for the previous three years.
In the rematch, Holloway showed off another level of his superb striking skills while weathering dozens more leg kicks from Volkanovski, who relied largely on that strike to win the first bout.
Holloway largely controlled the first two rounds but Volkanovski increased his output starting in the third round and added a few takedowns to bolster his case with the judges.
Volkanovski may feel a little fortunate after earning his 19th straight victory inside the Octagon