Reigning URCC Lightweight Champion Will “The Kill” Chope fought his seventh fight for 2016 Wednesday evening (Philippine time) in the IPIC Arena in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The former one-time UFC fighter dropped a close split decision loss to Bellator veteran Akop “The Sniper” Stepanyan in the most exciting fight in the Abu Dhabi Warriors 4 card.
Chope took the catchweight fight in just a week’s notice in stepping in for Ryan Healy.
Stepanyan, who had a reach disadvantage in this bout, was able to find his distance in the early-goings of the opening round in rocking Chope with an overhand right 30 seconds into the bout. He was then able to follow this up with a spinning head kick that glanced the forehead of the 25 year old American. Chope tried to close-in on his opponent but a huge body kick by the Sniper blew the wind out of Chope. The URCC champion was able to recover as the Russian could not follow the hit. With 25 seconds remaining in the round, Chope was able to get the back of Stepanyan but the Russian was saved by the bell just as Chope was able to sink a rear naked choke attempt.
Gaining confidence, Chope was able to find his range in the stand-up to open the second frame. However, another body kick by the Sniper rocked Chope but again the Russian could not capitalize. With 1:42 left in the round, the URCC Champion was able to again gain the back of his opponent and was able to lock in a grapevine. Short punches by Chope tried to loosen up Stepanyan’s wrist grips but the Russian was able to kip right back up with 30 seconds remaining. The two warriors slugged it out to enter the final break of the fight.
With the match virtually tied to enter the final round, Stepanyan tried to be creative with his striking and grappling. The Russian tried to take down his opponent but during the second attempt, Chope was again able to grab the back of the Sniper. The URCC Champion attempted a rear naked choke attempt once more with two minutes remaining in the bout followed by short hammerfists to loosen up the Russian. Stepanyan did not give way however. Short punches by Chope closed out the bout.
It was a close-fight admitted event commentator and Brazilian Jiujitsu legend JZ Cavalcante. “This is a close-fight but I have to give it to Chope,” Cavalcante said on air.
However, two of the three judges did not agree as Stepanyan was awarded the tight split decision win.
With the loss, Chope drops to 31-10 while Stepanyan goes up to 23-8.
Result: Akop Stepanyan defeats Will Chope via Split Decision (29-28×2, 28-29)
Agree or disagree with the result? Watch the full fight here