Tibau shocks MacDonald with controversial decision at PFL 5
Gleison Tibau pulled off a massive upset against Rory MacDonald on Thursday night, but he won't vie for the PFL welterweight championship and $1-million grand prize.
Tibau defeated MacDonald via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) in the PFL 5 main event at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City.
MacDonald clinched a playoff spot earlier in the night based on the results of previous fights, while Tibau didn't make the postseason.
Some members of the MMA community thought MacDonald, a former UFC title challenger, deserved the judges' nod:
MacDonald also expressed frustration with the decision at the postfight press conference.
Tibau, who lost his first regular-season bout earlier in 2021, entered as a 6-1 underdog against MacDonald. He earned three points with the decision victory, but it wasn't enough to surpass Magomed Magomedkerimov as the No. 4 seed and clinch a playoff spot.
MacDonald picked up six points in his PFL debut and entered Thursday's bout as the No. 2 seed. He maintained that position despite the controversial loss to Tibau.
MacDonald picked apart Tibau in the striking department in the first two rounds and nearly locked in a rear-naked choke in the opening stanza. Tibau struggled to land shots with consistency but defended MacDonald's takedown attempts well in the latter half of the bout.
The Brazilian turned his offense up a notch in the third round, scoring with punches in the final minutes.
Tibau was coming off a unanimous-decision loss to Joao Zeferino in April, while MacDonald submitted Curtis Millender in the first round at the same event.
MacDonald will face No. 3 seed Ray Cooper III in the semifinals later this summer. The other postseason contest will pit No. 1 Zeferino against No. 4 Magomedkerimov.
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