Many thought Joey Beltran had done enough over 15 minutes to earn the win over Fabio Maldonado Wednesday night at UFC Fight Night 29.
Maldonado and the judges, though, disagreed, as the hometown fighter earned a split decision victory.
“I don’t think I came as close as I wanted to finish,” he said. “I don’t know how one judge gave it to Beltran.”
Maldonado (20-6) earned his second straight victory, improving to 2-3 in his last five overall. He won 18 of his first 21 fights, but was topped by Glover Teixeira, Igor Pokrajac and Kyle Kingsbury during a three-bout stretch from 2011-12.
Born in Sao Paulo, Maldonado was fighting there for the first time since a 2010 victory over Nelson Martins.
“I’m pleased to have this opportunity,” he said. “I haven’t fought here in years.”