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Maldonado: I have ‘utmost respect’ for Fedor, but he didn’t win that fight

Fabio Maldonado talks about his controversial loss to Fedor Emelianenko at EFN 50.

MMA: UFC 179-Maldonado vs Stringer Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Many were shocked by the outcome of EFN 50’s main event between heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko and Fabio Maldonado.

Maldonado, a former UFC light heavyweight competitor who entered Friday night’s bout as a considerable underdog, battered Fedor from pillar-to-post in the first round but lost on the scorecards.

Emelianenko, 39, looked to have lost a 10-8 round in the first but was awarded a majority decision after recovering in the 2nd and 3rd. The Russian mounted his own offense as the fight wore on, but many felt his efforts were overshadowed by Maldonado’s one-sided beating in the opening round.

Maldonado is disappointed with the outcome, explaining to MMA Fighting that he has the utmost respect for Fedor but felt he clearly won the fight.

"I have the utmost respect for Fedor, he’s the most humble fighter I’ve ever met in my life, and I’m happy that I fought here. But I think I won the fight, right?" Maldonado said shortly after the fight. "I didn’t lose that third round. In the worst-case scenario, give him the third round and it’s a draw. He didn’t win that fight. Judges saw what nobody else did. He was better in the second round, but that was not a 10-8. And I have no doubt the first round was a 10-8.

"For the love of God, he almost fell several times. Everybody knows (the first round) was at least 10-8, or even a 10-7. He punched me close to the fence, but I was there because I really wanted him to attack."

The result has elicited controversy from the MMA world, as Bloody Elbow’s Karim Zidan revealed that the referee and judges were assigned by the Russian MMA Union, an organization headed by Emelianenko himself.

The fight aired on the UFC’s Fight Pass network, which stirred up discussion as to whether Fedor would eventually sign with the UFC. Following the bout, however, which highlighted Emelianenko’s tragic fall from grace, it’s unlikely a deal will be reached.