Tim B. takes a look at a UFC Auckland event with a lot of finishes on the main card.
Mark Hunt delivered in his hometown of Auckland. It wasn’t overly pretty – it is heavyweight MMA after all – but he absorbed some big shots from Derrick Lewis and switched it up when Lewis got tired. His body work was very smart, and it gassed Lewis out to the point that he could hardly defend himself. Lewis still surprised now and again with a big shot or a jump knee, but it was clear that he was done.
Some will protest the stoppage for sure, as Lewis was still on his feet and defending. But I think Marc Goddard made the right decision. Lewis was getting battered, and he said that his back was hurting in his post-fight interview. Sometimes refs have to assess when a guy has nothing left and call it off for their own safety. They don’t need to get knocked out. After all, the ref is there for the safety of the fighters, even if it doesn’t feel like that a lot.
Surprisingly, Lewis retired after the fight. Didn’t see that one coming.
- After a bunch of fights where Daniel Kelly defied time, Derek Brunson sent him crashing back down to earth with a single straight left. Kelly went down in a heap and a bunch of shots ended his night in just 1:16.
- Brunson’s callout in his post-fight interview was hilarious. He bizarrely called out Antonio Silva, then sort of explained who he was well enough for Brian Stann to correct him. Then Brunson just spit out a bunch of names with something that sounded like “Antonio dos Santos Silva Junior”. Does he want to fight three heayweights at once or something?
- Daniel Hooker absolutely destroyed Ross Pearson with a picture-perfect knee. Pearson kept leaning forward and Hooker finally timed it perfectly, knocking out his mouthpiece and sending Pearson to dreamland with a single shot. He also dropped a hammerfist of doom after, but Pearson was already done by then. Huge win for Hooker, and what a way to do it.
- Ion Cutelaba looked like Ivan Drago out there tonight. He absolutely destroyed Luis Henrique and scared the hell out of me doing it. That is an intense dude. His comment about wanting to end the fight early so he could say goodnight to his daughter offered up a shred of humanity, at least. But still – scary dude.
- Wow, Ben Nguyen. Tim Elliott is relentless, but Nguyen just tuned him up when he came at him, rolled right through the one takedown Elliott got, and jumped his back. Elliott made a huge mistake not even caring about the choke, and it cost him dearly. Great win for Nguyen, who badly needs a new nickname. Ten? Am I missing something?
- Mizuto Hirota has a ridiculous chin. Alexander Volkanovski caught his with some monstrous shots both on the feet and on the ground, and Hirota just took them. That first spinning elbow was a thing of beauty. Hirota even came back and had a decent third round, but still lost a wide decision.
- In the words of Vinc Pichel, “F–k ring rust!”. He took a little bit to get his striking down, but he baited Damien Brown into a beautiful counter uppercut and ended his night. Always bet on Hell.
- Luke Jumeau seems like a cool guy. And he fights well too. Dominique Steele is very long and has an awkward style, but Jumeau’s takedown defense held up and he landed some big shots. Apparently New Zealand loves foot stomps too.
- It seems like no one told two of the judges in the John Moraga/Ashkan Mokhtarian fight that they were fighting under the new rules. The third round was the definition of the new 10-8. The second teetered on it. Some even felt the first met the criteria (I didn’t). It should have been 30-26 at a minimum, but two judges had it 30-27. That’s not smart. Solid fight from Moraga though.
- Zak Ottow and Kiichi Kunimoto happened. There were some reversals on the ground. Some punches to the face. Yada yada. It was just your standard average fight, with Ottow getting the W.
- JJ Aldrich used a strong counterstriking game to defeat the game Chan-Mi Jeon. I like Jeon though – she has a lot of spunk. Her war cries and smiles and calling in Aldrich even with blood all over her face made me a fan.