Team Khabib ‘beast’ will fight for $1MN after latest win – but viewers blast Florida MMA judges over ‘embarrasing’ split decision

Team Khabib ‘beast’ will fight for $1MN after latest win – but viewers blast Florida MMA judges over ‘embarrasing’ split decision

An unbeaten Russian MMA star mentored by ex-UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight for $1 million after extending his long unbeaten run, winning despite fury from fans at bizarre judging in the US.

Featherweight Movlid Khaybulaev dominated his play-off fight with Englishman Brendan Loughnane at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, earning himself the chance to hit the jackpot against Chris Wade in the final on October 27.

Known for his savage flying knee attacks, the 30-year-old had spoken this week about the influence Nurmagomedov continues to have in his training camps, continuing the close relationship Khaybulaev had with his late father, hugely influential coach Abdulmanap.

Khaybulaev's performance was somewhat overshadowed by the split decision official verdict, which infuriated some viewers so much that they accused the panel of astonishing incompetence.

"A split decision? Florida judging, man," boggled high-profile MMA reporter Chamatkar Sandhu after one judge scored a 29-28 victory for Loughnane and another gave Khaybulaev a 29-28 win.

"Movlid Khaybulaev is a beast. One of the best featherweights in the world. Feel for Brendan Loughnane. Time to go home after 18 months away, see his family and friends. Recharge, reset and come back."

Others were less diplomatic. "Honestly, even the judge giving Loughnane one round should be ashamed," fumed one critic. Clear 30-27 Khaybulaev fight."

Another said: "I’ve never seen the Professional Fighters League until tonight. I walked away to other room knowing Movlid won easily, then I heard split and was like, 'What?'"

A fan vote and experts including ex-UFC favorit Chael Sonnen were unanimous in declaring Khaybulaev the winner, and even Loughnane supporters were surprised by the scores, with one admitting: "I love Brendan but there's no way he won two rounds."

Dagestani Khaybulaev told his camp: "I want to thank my team, my brothers, who were involved in my victory, who were worried about me.

"Thanks to my opponent for a good fight, from which I will definitely benefit, I was glad to share the octagon with you.

"Abdulmanap [Nurmagomedvov]: we, in turn, will carry your legacy on our shoulders."

Khabib Nurmagomedov's MMA fighter cousin, Usman, replied to the social media post with a string of hearts, while Loughnane responded: "Thank you for the lessons, brother. Go and win the belt, champ."

Also on
Movlid Khaybulaev (left) is being guided by ex-UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov (right) and shares a gym with Hasbullah © Instagram / movlid_khaybulaev
‘He’s very honorable’: Flying knee king Khaybulaev inspired by Khabib, his father and Hasbullah as powerhouse targets MMA history


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