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2018’s most disputed UFC decisions: Khabilov vs. Johnson, more

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Kajan Johnson’s loss to Rustam Khabilov at UFC Moscow was the nail in the coffin of his UFC career, but 92 percent of media and fans believe he should have had his hand raised. MMADecisions.com has released their list of 2018’s 10 most disputed decisions, and that bout topped the list. The website compiled interesting data, from media and fan scores to which judges had the best and worst track records of 2018.

Topping this year’s list was the UFC’s first-ever visit to Russia. UFC Moscow was headlined by Mark Hunt and Alexei Oleinik, but it was an undercard bout that had people — warning, incoming pun — Ragin’. Johnson believed he was fighting for his UFC contract in Moscow. He ultimately lost a split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) despite out-landing Khabilov 44 significant strikes to 17, per FightMetric. This includes 20-5 and 16-2 significant strikes in favor of Johnson in the first and third rounds, respectively. Three out of eight successful take downs sealed the deal for Khabliov on two of the judges’ scorecards.

92 percent of media members and fans called the decision for Khabliov a highway robbery. Many blamed the judging on home country bias. To those people, the MMADecisions list would say… maybe? Three of the ten most disputed decisions of 2018 were indeed scored in favor of the home country fighter; however, three more were scored for the away fighter.

Brazilian Sergio Moraes defeated Tim Means via split decision at UFC Belem, but a 90 percent average believed the American Means was robbed overseas. The same goes for Darren Till’s headlining performance at UFC Liverpool vs. Stephen Thompson. An 80 percent average among media members and fans scored the fight for Thompson despite a unanimous decision win for Till.

On the flip side, American mixed martial artists Justin Scoggins, Eddie Wineland, and Justine Kish all lost heavily-disputed decisions to foreign fighters. It is worth noting many of the UFC’s events take place in the U.S. and every disputed decision on the list in favor of the hometown fighter occurred outside North America.

The media more heavily disagreed with the official ruling than fans did in most cases. Only once — Ji Yeon Kim vs. Justine Kish at UFC Charlotte — had a higher percentage of fans protest the decision than members of the media.

Fighters might want to scrap with an extra sense of urgency the next time David Hagen is announced as a judge. Hagen scored in favor of controversial winners in three of the ten fights on the list below. The ever-active Sal D’Amato, on the other hand, sided with the popular vote on lists published in three of the last four years.

MMA’s most unlucky fighter might just be Dennis Bermudez. “The Menace” lost split decisions to Rick Glenn and Andre Fili in 2018 despite winning on a majority of media and fan scorecards. He also lost a controversial split decision to Darren Elkins in the summer of 2017.

See MMADecisions.com’s full top 10 list below.

  1. Rustam Khabilov def. Kajan Johnson via split decision at UFC Moscow (8% of media, 8% of fans, 8% average agree with decision).
  2. Sergio Moraes def. Tim Means via split decision at UFC Belem (7% of media, 12% of fans, 10% average agree with decision).
  3. Said Nurmagomedov def. Justin Scoggins via split decision at UFC Boise (0% of media, 23% of fans, 11% average agree with decision).
  4. Zak Ottow def. Dwight Grant via split decision at UFC Milwaukee (8% of media, 16% of fans, 12% average agree with decision).
  5. Stevie Ray def. Jessin Ayari via unanimous decision at UFC Moncton (8% of media, 25% of fans, 17% average agree with decision).
  6. Michelle Waterson def. Cortney Casey via split decision at UFC Glendale (6% of media, 29% of fans, 17% average agree with decision).
  7. Darren Till def. Stephen Thompson via unanimous decision at UFC Liverpool (12% of media, 28% of fans, 20% average agree with decision).
  8. Ashley Yoder def. Amanda Cooper via split decision at UFC Denver (12% of media, 29% of fans, 20% average agree with decision).
  9. Alejandro Perez def. Eddie Wineland via unanimous decision at UFC Boise (13% of media, 29% percent of fans, 21% average agree with decision).
  10. Ji Yeon Kim def. Justine Kish via split decision at UFC Charlotte (27% of media, 16% of fans, 21% average agree with decision).


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