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Renato Moicano understands referee Chris Tognoni, but believes ref ‘made a mistake’ in Rafael Fiziev stoppage

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Renato Moicano lost to Rafael Fiziev in the preliminary portion of UFC 256 in Las Vegas.
Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Rafael Fiziev stopped Renato Moicano with a beautiful combination at UFC 256 on Dec. 12 in Las Vegas, but Moicano disagrees with the stoppage.

The Brazilian immediately complained to referee Chris Tognoni after his loss, which gave Fiziev his third straight victory inside the octagon. Speaking with MMA Fighting on Monday, Moicano said he was good to continue fighting after the knockdown.

“I think he made a mistake, because if you look closely, I also re-watched the fight, I was doing guard,” Moicano said. “I was in closed guard, starting to work already, and the referee jumped the gun. I understand him – it’s not easy to come here and criticize the referee and say he’s wrong because I got hit twice and went down, so his first reaction is to protect [the fighter], but this is a MMA fight.

“I was dropped before, continued fighting and won. That happened more than once in my career in Brazil. I’m not saying that’s what would have happened, but the truth is I was ready. I knew that was a possibility, and I’m a well-trained fighter on the ground. In my opinion the referee made a mistake [and] he should have let it continue. But at the same time, I understand it because referees are stopping it early every time more now.”

Moicano takes blame for the loss. He said he did not follow the strategy his team had prepared for his bout, getting too excited and choosing to stand and trade with Fiziev. Watching the replay, however, the Brazilian lightweight disputes the idea that he went out when Fiziev landed a combination and he woke back up when he hit his head on the ground.

“I didn’t feel that way – I felt on the entire time,” Moicano said. “I felt I lost the leg, but didn’t lose consciousness at any time — at least that I remember. It’s hard to say, of course. You’ll watch the video and see I got hit and felt it and went down, but I was protecting myself the entire time.”

Moicano dropped to 1-3 in his last four octagon appearances with all his losses coming by way of stoppage in bout against Jose Aldo, Chan Sung Jung and Fiziev. He plans on coming back to action “as soon as my medical suspension is over,” he said, but rules out a return to the featherweight division, where he got his start in the octagon.