The Vietnamese beat Brazilian Robson De Oliveira Soares in the men's 60kg category of class B by a split decision in a three three-minute match at the Rach Mieu Gymnasium. But the result wasn't well received by the crown, including Vietnamese supporters.
After the first round of checking each other, Soares tried to approach Luong and pushed him to the corner. The Brazilian three-time champion took Luong down several times but could not finish the match because of Luong's strong resistance.
The Vietnamese fighter, who won the World Beach Cup bronze, also had some slams against Soares but his tactics did not work well.
In the last seconds of the last round, Soares hit Luong with a series of accurate punches and was confident of a win.
The Brazilian, wearing the national flag of Vietnam at the end of the fight, prepared for a celebration. However, the judges' decision silenced him and his coaching board as it was Luong who was declared the winner.
"Prior to the match, I knew that he was strong and good with his grappling skills as a black-belt master in jujitsu. But he could not do anything against me," said Luong.
"I hope I can show myself better in the next match. I expect to be promoted to class A and fight against the top 4 to improve my ranking."
Luong also said the final result was the decision of the judges and out of his hands but he insisted he was ready for a rematch if required.
Soares was surprised when hearing the result, but kept smiling during his interview.
"I think that he tried. It was not a bad match for him but I his so well. I took him down," he said.
"I don't understand why I lost this match. He couldn't even connect with me."
Despite receiving a bonus after his fight was voted best of the day, Soares refused to accept it before leaving the gym.
"Work concluded. I dominated my opponent in all three rounds but it was not enough to keep my victory. Thanks for the opportunity to find and show my work. Thanks to everyone who sends me good vibes," he posted on his Facebook later.
His agent Gilberto Bottiglieri was, however, strongly opposed to the score.
"We are so disappointed with what happened," he said. "We have received international calls from all over the world asking what happened.
"There is no doubt that the winner of the match is him (Soares). They said that he was better in all three rounds. His rival could not do anything to him, he could not take him down even one time. You also see the audience at the gym asking what happened."
On his Facebook page, the agent posted: "Congratulations Robson De Oliveira Soares on your victory tonight, shame on Lion organisation. It was our first and last time fighting here. Thanks for all the msgs from all gyms and friends."
However, it was then changed to: "Congratulations Robson De Oliveira Soares on your victory tonight, congratulations Tran Ngoc Luong SSC for the great fight. Thanks for all the msgs from all gyms and friends and the whole Vietnamese MMA community for the msgs of support to us".
The Vietnam MMA Vietnam Federation called for an urgent meeting after the conclusion of the tournament.
They reviewed and discussed the work and mistakes in matches, including the Luong vs Soares bout.
The federation asked its officials and the Lion Championship organiser to watch all matches again and release their decision as soon as possible.
In other fights on April 22 night, Nguyen Thanh Do won by split decision against Pham Ngoc Canh in the men's 56kg main match while seven other seven matches ended with knockouts.
In class A, Nguyen Hoang Thach floored Nguyen Phu Quy in the men's 56kg bout; Bui Truong Sinh knocked out Le Van Tuan and Tran Minh Nhut technically knocked out Nguyen Trung Hai in the men's 60kg. Ban Van Hoang took a knockout win over Le Van The Anh in the men's 70kg.
Class B had 10 matches. Among them, Chu Minh Quang earned a technical knockout win against Nguyen Thiet Ca Tri in the men's 56kg.
Mai Hong Phat knocked out Huynh Van Dieu and Tran Gia Thinh technically knocked out Nguyen Huu Phong in the men's 60kg.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Vu Phuong Hoai won over Lam Truong An with a submission in the men's 65kg.
The next round of the Lion Championship will be on June 3 in Hanoi.