The Ultimate Fighting Championship packed out the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Saturday for UFC Fight Night 85 and produced a night of finishes, chokes and one stone cold walk-off KO.
New Zealander Mark Hunt continued to show why he’s one of the hardest hitters in the game, landing a vicious right-hand to the neck of former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, sending the dazed American to the canvas. Instead of jumping on Mir to make sure his hand would be raised, Hunt simply looked at his challenger, shook his head and walked off, the referee then stepping in to call it.
Hunt wasn’t the only fighter to impress on the night, with strong performances on the main card and in the preliminaries. Unfortunately, some fighters didn’t have the best of nights and lost more than they could have gained.
Here’s a rundown of the winners and losers of UFC Fight Night 85.
The knockout win over Frank Mir couldn’t have come a better time for the UFC veteran. After picking up a win against Antonio Silva back in November last year, “The Super Samoan” has won two straight by knockout and is starting to gain some momentum which could propel him towards a title shot if he wins his next 2-3 fights.
The walk-off knockout was the icing on the cake for Hunt, who still knows how to entertain the crowd at 42-years of age.
How impressive is this lad? After a rocky start to his UFC career – going 1-2 in his first three fights – Neil Magny hasn’t done much wrong since. Apart from a small bump against Damian Maia at UFC 190, the 28-year-old has won 11 of his 10 fights, all of which took place within the last two years.
His win over Hector Lombard in Saturday night’s co-main event epitomised what kind of fighter Magny is: tough, durable and well able to take a beating as the first-round beatdown he received made clear. There’s a slight possibility the prominent wrestler could find himself in a number one contender bout in the future.
It turned out to be a fairytale night for Canadian Steve Bosse. Not only did the TriStar Gym prospect finally get his first win inside the octagon, he did it in devastating fashion. It took Bosse only 52-seconds to land a particularly nasty right hook that sent James Te-Huna to sleep.
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) March 20, 2016
First round knockouts always grab the attention of the UFC brass and could mean a step up for Bosse in the future. It turned out to be the perfect response after losing his promotional debut to Thiago Santos at UFC Fight Night 70 last year.
Mir is coming to the back-end of his mixed martial arts career and you’d almost hope the future hall of fame inductee would hang up his gloves for good. At 35-years old, the former heavyweight champ has been knocked out eight times inside the octagon and Saturday night’s loss marked his 27th appearance for the promotion.
Needless to say, Mir has been through the wars and following his two knockout wins before his loss this weekend, there was hope the veteran had one more title run in him. Unfortunately, that died with Hunt, so ending his career at the pinnacle before any more damage is done wouldn’t be a bad option.
The Japanese bantamweight came into UFC Fight Night 85 with one loss already on her UFC record, dropping a unanimous decision to now women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate. A win over Leslie Smith was essential to stop her stock from dropping but the compact powerhouse still came up short, literally.
The 5’9″ Smith used her combinations to keep 5’1″Nakai from getting into any dangerous grappling exchanges and worked her way to the decision win. According to MMA Junkie’s Robert Sargent, Nakai’s management team only signed the fighter with the UFC on a two-fight contract, which could mean the end of Nakai’s stay with the promotion following the loss.
This is the final bout on Rin Nakai's UFC contract because her manager/husband rejected a four-fight offer in favour of this two-fight one.
— Robert Sargent (@MMARising) March 20, 2016
Referee Steve Perceval
The co-main event slot while full of action was also marred by controversy. Neil Magny managed to weather the storm that was Hector Lombard during the first round and should have finished the fight in the second if referee Steve Perceval allowed it.
Magny managed to get full mount and land a significant amount of ground strikes on the helpless Lombard, who to the eyes of those in attendance wasn’t intelligently defended himself. Nevertheless, Perceval allowed the fight to continue and Lombard managed to make it to the bell.
A fighter’s health is always paramount in the cage and Perceval failed on Saturday night to ensure the safety of both Magny and Lombard.
Referee Marc Goddard’s reaction says it all.
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