Any reasonable judge gave the first two rounds to Max Holloway, rounds four and five to Alexander Volkanovski — and flipped a coin for round three.
So if you’re looking to get upset about the scoring in the Aussie’s successful first defence of his featherweight crown it’s best to fire up at the judge who gave Holloway the fifth — not the other two who gave Volkanovski the decision.
That was the only rogue number on the scorecard that saw two judges score it 48-47 to Volkanovski and the other 47-48 to Holloway.
All three judges gave Volkanovski the third.Source:Supplied
But the fight world was up in arms about the popular Hawaiian being denied for the second time by the former rugby league player, including a bunch of fighters.
I had @BlessedMMA 3-2, made some great changes from the first fight.
Yoooooo . I had Holloway 3-2😬😬😬 #UFC251
Thought that was Max, great fight!
I had Max the first 3 Rds! Damn! That’s tough man. I feel for Max but congrats to Volkanovski#UFC251 #TheWeeklyScraps!
Even athletes from other sports were weighing in.
I guess I don’t know how to judge a fight cuz Max Holloway won that to me.
I had Holloway 3-2 🤦🏽♂️
But the outrage was largely driven by two things.
Firstly, Holloway won the first and second rounds by a wider margin than Volkanovski won the fourth and fifth.
He knocked the Aussie down — albeit not heavily — with a head kick in the first and an uppercut in the second.
But unless you’re dominant enough to win a round 10-8 — which Holloway wasn’t — that’s just bad luck.
The champ. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Volkanovski punches Max Holloway. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
The other factor was likely the commentary. Ex-UFC champion Michael Bisping was so impressed with Holloway’s first two rounds that he could never turn the bus around and realise Volkanovski took over in the latter stages.
“From the third I came back and showed what champions are made of,” Volkanovski said.
There were calls for a trilogy in the aftermath and the UFC will be tempted given the lack of standout next contender — Zabit Magomedsharipov is next in line — and Holloway’s standing in the sport.
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But the man from NSW appears ready to move on. “I don’t believe the first fight was close. This fight was probably closer but I got the job done,” Volkanovski said. “I believed I’ve closed that chapter.”
“I’m the number one featherweight in the world right now but I want to be the GOAT,” he added. “You get that way with title defences against number one challengers.”
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