Jorge Masvidal and Al Iaquinta entered their showdown at UFC Fight Night 63 on Saturday in Fairfax, Va., each man riding a three-fight winning streak and looking to take the next step up the championship ladder.
The fight started slow, picked up a bit over the course of the three rounds, but then ended in a split decision that left no one happy in the end.
While Masvidal and Iaquinta seemed slow to get started, trading one-off shots for the majority of the opening round, Masvidal rocked Iaquinta in the final minute.
Masvidal landed a right-left combination and followed with a jumping knee that sent Iaquinta to the canvas. Masvidal dropped into Iaquinta’s guard and opened up with a plethora of punches, opening a cut under Iaquinta’s right eye that left him a bloody mess as the round closed.
The pace slowed again in round two, but even with the slowed pace, it was obvious that Masvidal was being more accurate with his punches, while Iaquinta started to sneak in some low kicks on Masvidal’s left leg.
Although he didn’t land a lot of it, Masvidal used the variety of his strikes to keep Iaquinta guessing a lot, but the New Yorker kept pressing forward throughout the fight, trying to find a home for his power shots.
Iaquinta managed to land a few more of his stronger punches in the final round, but his best work was continuing to target Masvidal’s left leg, which was changing significantly bruised by the end of the fight.
Masvidal remained steady throughout, sitting in the pocket and countering much of Iaquinta’s efforts. He used his jab effectively in the final round to re-open the cut under Iaquinta’s right eye, which was again streaming blood as the fight closed.
It seemed as if Masvidal had done enough to earn the nod, but when the judges’ scorecards were read, Iaquinta was awarded the fight, winning the fight 29-28 according to two judges, while the third scored it 30-27 for Masvidal.
SEE ALSO > UFC Fight Night 63 Full Live Results
The crowd was not pleased, raining down boos, which set Iaquinta off.
“Are you guys booing me? You better not (expletive) be booing me. (Expletive) you!” an irate Iaquinta screamed as broadcaster Jon Anik tried to conduct a post-fight interview.
Iaquinta’s emotions got the better of him though and he stormed out of the Octagon, unhappy despite the split-decision nod.
It wasn’t the impressive outcome that Iaquinta needs to blast into title contention, but it does improve his winning streak to four consecutive fights.
(Follow @KenPishna on Twitter)