Just how controversial was Max Holloway’s split decision loss to Alexander Volkanovski on Saturday night at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi?
Controversial enough for Fan Duel Sportsbook to announce that it will be refunding all customers who placed a pre-fight wager on Holloway to win, or win by decision.
Volkanovski retained the UFC featherweight belt by the narrowest of margins, as the judges ruled the fight 48-47, 47-48, 48-47 in favor of the Australian. Afterwards, UFC President Dana White was critical of the three judges who saw the fight that way.
“You can’t leave it to these guys,” White said at the post-UFC 251 press conference. “We got some bad judging.”
Holloway had the striking analytics advantage in total strikes, significant strikes, and head and body strikes. But UFC fights are judged by round and not cumulatively. To that end, many still believe Holloway had the edge.
“Rounds one, two and three, I had for sure Max,” Hilo native and fellow UFC fighter Brad Tavares told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello. “I was like ‘OK, one two and three.’ Barring 10-8 rounds, barring a stoppage, I was like ‘OK, Max got this fight in the bag here.’”
Holloway won the first two rounds, while Volkanovski won the fourth. The third and fifth rounds were the closest rounds, but all three judges gave Volkanovski the third round while one gave Holloway the fifth. If not for that, Holloway would have lost via unanimous decision.
On Monday’s episode of the popular DC & Helwani Show featuring Daniel Cormier and Ariel Helwani, both had thought that Holloway did enough to earn the decision.
It’s unclear what will be next for Holloway, but after today’s announcement by Fan Duel, one would have to imagine that questions regarding who should have had their hand raised at UFC 251 will continue.