Emotions ran wild following the hotly-contested, split-decision win awarded to "Ragin" Al Iaquinta over fellow top-15 lightweight Jorge Masvidal in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 63 at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia this afternoon (Sat., April 4, 2015).
The two burgeoning 155-pound contenders took part in a thrilling and excruciatingly close affair for 15 minutes. Masvidal took control for the majority of the first two rounds of the fight, landing gut-wrenching body kicks and left hands. However, it was a late rally in round three by Iaquinta that proved to be the difference maker in the eyes of the judges.
Iaquinta, Masvidal scorecard. I had it 29-28 Iaquinta. pic.twitter.com/Jc3gBi57o0— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) April 4, 2015
Apparently, they weren't watching the same fight that fans in Virginia were witnessing. Masvidal left the cage in disgust and the boos -- which were so unpleasant -- sent the Serra-Longo Fight Team product Iaquinta into an expletive-filled tirade (video here).
Iaquinta: "I looked in the crowd and a guy was giving me the middle finger – it really got to me because I do this for the fans."— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) April 4, 2015
The loss halts Masvidal's winning-streak at three, while the victory ushers Iaquinta towards top-10 lightweight status. The New York native's outburst caught the eye of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White, but it is unclear as to whether he will face disciplinary action from his employer.
Iaquinta's peers have embraced him, recognizing him for putting forth his honest feelings in his post-fight interview.
I agree 100% w/@ALIAQUINTAs sentiment in his post fight interview. Made me a fan more than anything #UFCFairfax— Shayna Baszler (@QoSBaszler) April 4, 2015
The soon-to-be 28-year-old didn't escape his heated tussle with "Gamebred" without some battle scars. A cut created under the left eye of Iaquinta in the first round "definitely didn't help" convince fans he was the bouts' rightful winner, said the latter.
He was even more distraught and frustrated at the crowd's vastly disappointing reaction backstage. Luckily, he has a coach that knows a thing or two about how to work the mixed martial arts (MMA) masses.
"It hurts to hear the people booing me. Both Ray [Longo] and Matt [Serra] said you can't listen to the crowd. They told me I won and I calmed me down," said Iaquinta. "I train hard every day. Win or lose, I want the crowd to cheer. I showed a lot of heart and pushed through a tough first round."
His post-fight banter may not help his image, especially after this drunken episode following Iaquinta's win over Joe Lauzon at UFC 183.
"Ragin" has rocketed up the lightweight ladder following his second-place finish on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 15. His blend of counter-striking, and blistering knockout power, has made him a very scary player in the 155-pound division.
Iaquinta has continued to excel at a rapid pace in 2015, following victories over Rodrigo Damm and Ross Pearson last year. Prior to his victory over Masvidal, Iaquinta floored durable veteran Joe Lauzon in January.
And even after all his success over the last several months, Iaquinta still longs for a performance bonus -- which he still did not earn in Fairfax.
Shame on you Mr. White, shame on you.