Beneil Dariush walked out of the Octagon on Saturday night with a split-decision win over Michael Johnson in one of the most controversial decisions in recent memory.
Despite getting dropped early in round one and controlled on the feet for the majority of 15 minutes, Dariush still got the win as a stunned Nashville crowd booed the decision.
Johnson was able to set the pace early with his striking, which he’s worked on tirelessly over the last few years with his coaches at the Blackzilians in Florida.
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Much like his last few wins, Johnson constantly moved forward while putting pressure on Dariush and with his hands seemingly moving at the speed of light, he tagged the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with numerous left and right hands.
His best punch in the early going came during the first round when Johnson uncorked an overhand left that blasted Dariush and sent him down to one knee before getting back to his feet.
Johnson’s hands were just too fast and too powerful for Dariush to catch up whenever the two fighters planted and started to throw punches.
By the time round three began, Johnson appeared to be in complete control with Dariush desperately trying to get the fight to the ground and coming up short on numerous occasions. Johnson continued to give chase, although Dariush was elusive enough in the final frame to avoid taking too much damage as the fight came to an end.
As Bruce Buffer began reading the scorecards and it was clear the fight was a split decision and Johnson was already carrying a stunned look on his face, but when the final judgment was rendered and Dariush declared the winner, the crowd erupted in disapproval.
Even Dariush looked shocked to get the victory and Johnson quickly jumped out of the Octagon after losing for the first time in five fights.
"Where did they get these judges?" Johnson said as he rushed out of the cage and went to the back to vent his frustration.
The victory marks Dariush’s fifth win in a row, as well, and despite the controversial decision he will undoubtedly crack the top 10 in the lightweight division when the new UFC rankings are released in the coming days.