Filipino-Australian fighter Josh Culibao settled for a controversial split draw against Charles Jourdain of Canada Sunday in UFC Fight Island 4 in Abu Dhabi.
Culibao started strong in the first two rounds before Jourdain displayed mastery in both striking and ground game in the third frame.
Judges called the fight 30-27 for Jourdain, 29-28 for Culibao while the third official had it at 28-28.
Social media went frenzy after one judge gave Jourdain all three rounds, drawing mixed emotions from the public.
The 26-year-old Culibao, considered as the underdog in the match entering his second UFC match, started aggressively in ground game after taking down Jourdain in the first round.
After exchanging blows, Culibao dropped Jourdain to the canvas, leaving his Canadian foe bleeding and possibly a broken nose. Jourdain recovered and nearly executed a guillotine choke before the end of the first round.
A self-inflicted eye poke by Culibao stole the spotlight midway the second round before the ground game action continued.
The third round proved to be vital for Jourdain’s win after throwing power shots to Culibao and even attempted another guillotine choke. The 24-year-old Jourdain tried to finish Culibao with an armbar but the Fil-Aussie escaped.
Jourdain improved to a 10-3-1 mixed martial arts record while Culibao has yet to get a victory in the promotion with an 8-1-1 slate.