UFC light-heavyweight Ion Cutelaba has had the appeal against his TKO defeat to Magomed Ankalaev at UFC Norfolk denied.

In the fight, Ankalaev opened up early in round one throwing a series of high kicks that appeared to be doing damage to Cutelaba. Despite the fact Cutelaba was still standing referee Kevin MacDonald stepped in and stopped the fight after just 38 seconds. The Moldavian fighter reacted angrily to the stoppage and one look at the replay tells you exactly why.

On second viewing it’s clear to see Cutelaba is blocking a lot of what his opponent is throwing at him and is still intelligently defending himself. Speaking backstage post-fight Cutelaba was still furious about the stoppage and claimed acting hurt was part of his game plane, he told MMA Fighting.

”I came all the way from Moldova, 14 or 15, to show the world I am the best, and the referee didn’t leave me to fight,” Cutelaba explained. “Every (strike) that my opponent did, I controlled it. When the referee stopped the fight, I was countering. This was a part of the game plan, and the referee thought I fell. But that was part of the game plan. When they stopped it, I was fighting him.

Speaking later on social media Cutelaba announced he would be appealing the TKO loss at the earliest opportunity, he wrote.

“First thing monday morning we will be talking to the commission to make the appeal. Hopefully they see What all fans watching tonight saw and correct this injustice.Thank YOU for your support!”

Two months on and his appeal has been denied according to Ariel Helwani of ESPN.

“Ankalaev stoppage in Virginia back in February? Cutelaba’s team appealed the TKO stoppage and found out today their appeal was denied, I’m told. It will remain a TKO win for Ankalaev. They were supposed to rematch at 249. TBD now.”

Should Ion Cutelaba vs. Magomed Ankalaev have been ruled a no contest?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.