‘i-started-to-zone-out-after-three-rounds’

Nobody likes seeing fights go to a draw, so Saturday’s main event between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev being declared a split draw really took the wind out of UFC 282’s sails.

Immediately after the decision (or rather non-decision) was read, everyone in the cage was left standing around with no idea what to do. Dana White had no one to put the belt on. Joe Rogan had no one to interview. The fighters themselves seemed in a state of frustration and confusion. Everyone was trying to do the math to figure out how this split draw happened, and no one was happy with how things were adding up.

During a backstage interview immediately after the fight, Magomed Ankalaev expressed his displeasure with the decision.

“I was shocked, to be honest,” he said through a translator. “I think I did plenty, and I did enough to be champion. But this is the way the judges decided to swing it. I don’t know, maybe we should check our judges because I don’t know what we’re looking at, but obviously I won this fight.”

“I’m not the only fight that got swung the wrong way,” he added. “There’s other people speaking, their victories were taken away by these judges. So I don’t have any words. I don’t know what to say.”

But at the UFC 282 post-fight press conference, Dana White wasn’t too sold on Ankalaev’s declarations of victory. When asked who he thought should have won, White refused to give an answer.

“I don’t even know [who was winning], I started to zone out after like f—ing three rounds,” he said. “I heard that Ankalaev is upset, and whatever. What do you want me to do? You know? You got beat up the first two rounds, then you take him to the ground and you started … what are you gonna do?”

“You do Glover vs. Jamahal Hill in Brazil for the vacant title,” White continued, answering his own question. “That’s done. You’re welcome. That’s what we do. It’s me, it’s Christmas.”

The UFC is all about turning lemons into lemonade, so when nobody walked away from UFC 282 with the light heavyweight strap around their waist, the decision was quickly made to book another vacant 205 pound title fight at UFC 283 in Brazil. Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill will be the two contenders this time around, and hopefully a winner will actually be crowned at the end of the night.

I fought my heart out today, there is no excuse, but I had a compromised knee, it wasn’t my best performance, but I know I won the fight. Thank you @danawhite and the @ufc for giving me this opportunity

— Magomed Ankalaev (@AnkalaevM) December 11, 2022

As for Magomed Ankalaev, he reacted to the title fight news with stoicism.

“I consider myself a champ,” he said. “And while I’m here, I’ll do whatever I have to do to hunt that belt, it doesn’t matter who has it.”

As for why Ankalaev didn’t look quite as deadly as normal on Saturday night? According to the Dagestani fighter, he came into the bout with a ‘compromised knee.’