Controversy has erupted at UFC Norfolk, with the light heavyweight bout between Ion Cutelaba and Magomed Ankalaev brought to a premature end.
Fans were outrage when referee Kevin MacDonald halted the fight, after Cutelaba appeared to wobble on his feet after fending off a flurry of blows from Ankalaev.
After Cutelaba threw a wild haymaker that missed everything, MacDonald decided he’d seen enough - stopping the fight.
Cutelaba was absolutely incensed at the stoppage, and appeared to have shaken off any ill effects from the flurry of blows he endured as soon as MacDonald called off the fight.
Fans flocked to social media immediately after the stoppage, speculating that Cutelaba was merely feigning being stunned to lure Ankalaev into over-extending.
By and large, the reaction was that the fight had been needlessly stopped.
What the hell is this. That was a stupid ass stoppage. #UFCNorfolk— Trey Harding (@TreyHarding1) March 1, 2020
I am so pissed for Cutelaba. Imagine having THAT as a loss on your record. #UFCNorfolk— The Combat Hub (@combathubreal) March 1, 2020
Unbelievably bad stoppage but it is a bit funny that they did all of that during Buffer's introductions for the fight they had.— Robbie Fox (@RobbieBarstool) March 1, 2020
It wasn’t the only controversial moment between Cutelaba and Ankalaev.
The two had to be separated by security guards inside the ring, moments before the fight, after Cutelaba approached his opponent and bumped him.
Security had to step in before this one even got started... 🤯 pic.twitter.com/Wu9ePy3kYC— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 1, 2020
Speaking after the fight through a translator, Ankalaev said he was willing to fight a rematch, but believed he had sufficiently hurt his opponent enough to warrant the stoppage.
“All I can say is that I now I hurt him,” he said.
“I connected the high kick...I know I hurt him, he was wobbling.
“I don’t need it, UFC will make a decision but I will accept any fight.”
Weigh-in controversy mars UFC Norfolk headline fight
The UFC's next flyweight champion was supposed to be decided this weekend following Friday's UFC official weigh-in from Norfolk, Va. Now, however, only one man has a shot at the belt.
In a division that was once on the chopping block, Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo will square off in the UFC Norfolk main event.
The winner was expected to become the next 125-pound champion, taking the spot that former dual-division titleholder Henry Cejudo vacated.
Following Friday's weigh-in, Benavidez is the only fighter that can win the belt after Figueiredo failed to make weight on his initial attempt.
He was given an additional hour to try and make weight, but did not make a second attempt to weigh in.
Benavidez was the first fighter to the scale, easily making weight at 124.5 pounds.
Figueiredo was the final fighter to the scale, keeping everyone in suspense, especially after Grant Dawson missed weight just before him.
Dawson's miss eventually proved to be a precursor to Figueiredo's flyweight title fight flop.
With roughly 25 minutes on the weigh-in clock, Figueiredo looked drained as he stepped on the scale weighing 127.5 pounds, a full 2.5 pound above the limit for a flyweight championship bout.
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