Diego Brandao was on a roll since leaving the UFC, scoring a pair of exciting finishes under the Fight Nights Global banner. But Monday, he suffered his first post-UFC loss in controversial fashion.
Brandao fought Akhmet Aliev in the main event of FNG 73 in Kaspiysk, Dagestan. At the 3:34 mark of the second round, the referee stopped the action when Aliev headbutted the Brazilian’s chest, and Brandao responded with an illegal upkick to Aliev’s neck as the referee was separating them.
The crowd erupted and bottles were thrown into the cage. “Please stay and fight,” the referee told Brandao, but the Brazilian jumped over the cage and out. Brandao returned to the cage a couple of minutes later, but the referee told him he couldn’t simply restart the fight.
Aliev was declared the winner by technical knockout, improving to 16-4.
"I'm so sorry for you,” the referee told Brandao after the official result was announced. "Why were you leaving the cage?”
In the co-main event, UFC veteran Fabio Maldonado came back from two rough rounds to score first submission victory since 2010, tapping Kurban Omarov with a guillotine choke in the third round. Maldonado offered Omarov a rematch, but first he wants a boxing match with Denis Lebedev.
Another UFC veteran, Rousimar Palhares, completed the trio of Brazilians fighting Monday in Dagestan, but returned home with a controversial split decision loss to Shamil Amirov.