On Sunday night, the UFC made its second trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, with UFC Fight Night 105.
The card, which marked the debut of new play-by-play man Todd Grisham, was headlined by a key heavyweight bout between Travis Browne and Derrick Lewis, and co-headlined by a middleweight bout between former UFC welterweight champ Johny Hendricks and former Bellator king Hector Lombard. While the card was a little lacking in the big names outside of these two fights, it delivered as a fun one all the same, highlighted by some incredible finishes, and some fun, back-and-forth scraps.
Here’s a recap of the madness for those who missed it.
The Main Card:
Lewis Bludgeons Browne in the Second
In the evening’s main event, former heavyweight contender Travis Browne looked to correct a two-fight losing streak against streaking Texan Derrick Lewis. As so many fans anticipated, this one ended emphatically.
Though Browne started strong, repeatedly hurting Lewis with kicks to the body and possibly exposing his kryptonite to his future opponents in the process, he then found himself on the receiving end of Lewis’ absurd power punches in the second. From there, it was just a matter of time. Lewis dropped his towering foe, climbed into mount, and treated his head like a basketball with a series of unanswered ground strikes. The referee jumped in, and Browne didn’t return to his feet for several minutes.
With this win, Lewis extends his win-streak to six, and his overall record to 18-4. He has now earned 16 of his 18 career victories by knockout or TKO. Browne, meanwhile, falls onto a three-fight skid, having given up fights to Cain Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum, and now Lewis. He’s now 18-6-1 overall.
Hendricks Takes Close Decision from Lombard
In the co-main event of the evening, former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks looked to correct a recent rough patch with a fresh start in the 185-pound middleweight division. His opponent on this attempted fresh start was former Bellator middleweight champ Hector Lombard.
It was an exciting, back-and-forth fight, during which both men landed plenty of meaningful shots. Hendricks, however, seemed to find his groove midway through the second, as he began to catch a slowing Lombard with expertly-timed knees. The Cuban certainly didn’t make it easy for him, but Hendricks walked away with a unanimous decision win all the same.
With this win, Hendricks moves to 4-0 on Canadian soil. This latest Canadian triumph separates him from a tough-three fight losing streak, as he gave up his last three bouts to Stephen Thompson, Kelvin Gastelum and Neil Magny. He’s now 18-6 overall. Lombard, on the other hand, falls onto the first three-fight streak of his long career. He’s now 34-7-1 overall.
Tucker Dominates Sicilia for Star-Making Hometown Win
In Halifax’s fourth main-card bout, hometown hero Gavin Tucker made his long-awaited UFC debut against the ever dangerous Sam Sicilia.
Despite the big jump up in competition that Sicilia represented, Tucker passed this test with flying colors, using footwork, extremely clever feints, and some serious quickness to soundly out-strike his foe for three straight rounds. His dominant striking display would earn him a lopsided unanimous decision win in front of thousands of his fellow Haligonians.
With this win, Tucker looks like he could be the UFC’s next Canadian star. He’s now 10-0, with just two decisions amongst his victories. Sicilia, meanwhile, falls onto a three-fight skid, having lost to Doo Ho Choi and Gabriel Benitez in his next most recent bouts. He’s now 15-8 overall.
Theodorou Scores Close Decision Over “Mutante”
The third bout of the main card saw Canadian social media darling Elias Theodorou take on Brazil’s Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira in a compelling middleweight showdown.
Though Ferreira was able to complete three of six takedown attempts and threaten with a pair of submissions, he was soundly out-struck over the course of this three-round contest, landing a mere 11 total strikes to his Canadian foe’s 70. This massive striking advantage would earn Theodorou a close, but justifiable unanimous decision win.
With this win, Theodorou builds on the momentum of a June decision defeat of the ranked Sam Alvey. He’s now 13-1 in sum. Ferreira, meanwhile, has a three-fight streak snapped by this loss. He’s now 11-6 overall, and 3-1 since returning to the middleweight division.
McMann Scores Quick Tap Over Mazany
The second bout of the main card occurred at women’s bantamweight, where former Olympian and UFC title challenger Sara McMann took on the debuting Gina Mazany, who replaced Liz Carmouche on short notice.
Though Mazany deserves some serious props for taking this fight on short notice, she had little to offer the dangerous McMann. Mere minutes into the fight, McMann landed a takedown, promptly climbed into side control, and ultimately locked up a rear-naked choke for the tap.
With this win, which marks her second arm-triangle choke victory in a row, McMann moves onto a three fight-streak. Now 11-3 overall, she remains one of the bantamweight division’s very best players. Mazany, meanwhile, loses for the first time. She’s now 4-1 overall.
Felder Elbow Crushes Ricci’s Nose
The main card began in the lightweight division, where Paul “The Irish Dragon” Felder took on a fellow striker in Alessandro Ricci.
As pretty much everyone expected, this one unfolded on the feet—and it didn’t last long. As the first round wore down, Felder countered his Canadian foe with an elbow to the nose, immediately disfiguring him and sending him tumbling to the canvas in pain. From there, the referee had no choice but to wave the fight off.
With this win, Felder rebounds from a cut-induced loss to Francisco Trinaldo. He’s now 13-3 overall. Ricci, meanwhile, falls to a tough 0-2 in the Octagon, having lost his short-notice debut to Jeremy Kennedy last summer. He’ll return to the states with a 10-5 overall record.
Ponzinibbio Edges Taleb in Welterweight Firefight
The undercard was wrapped up by a welterweight battle between Argentinian striking whiz Santiago Ponzinibbio and Canada’s own Nordine Taleb.
This bout occurred almost exclusively on the feet and left both men bloodied. Though Taleb seemed to win the first round, and had some real success with his counterstriking in the second, Ponzinibbio was the sharper striker over all, which earned him a unanimous decision win.
With this win, he extends his current win-streak to four. He’s now a fantastic 24-3 overall. Taleb, meanwhile, returns to the loss column after a blistering 2016 knockout of Erick Silva. He’ll return to Montreal with an overall record of 12-4.
Markos Edges Esparza for Career-Best Win
The first of Halifax’s two women’s bouts occurred in the strawweight division, where Canada’s Randa Markos got the biggest test of her career against former champion Carla Esparza.
The fight went down as a very entertaining and ultimately very close one, as Markos sought to confuse her foe on the feet, and Esparza relied on her patented wrestling. By the time the final bell had sounded, Markos had nearly doubled up on her foe in the striking department, while the former champ had succeeded on 4 of 10 takedown attempts
In the end, the judges seemed to prefer Markos’ strategy, and handed her a split decision win as a result. With this win, she rebounds from a recent submission loss to Cortney Casey and moves to 7-4 overall. Esparza, meanwhile, returns to the loss column after defeat of Juliana Lima. She’s now 11-4 in sum.
Zahabi Debuts with Decision Defeat of Vieira
The third bout of the evening saw Aiemann Zahabi—brother of revered MMA coach Firas Zahabi—make his UFC debut against The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil winner Reginaldo Vieira in an intriguing bantamweight fight.
This was a fun, back and forth fight, that saw Vieira outland his foe by a 109-49 margin and score with three takedowns, but also absorb the far more damaging shots. In the end, the judges seemed to prefer Zahabi’s damage to Vieira’s volume, and awarded him a unanimous decision win as a result.
With this win, the debutant stays perfect at 7-0. Vieira, meanwhile, now sits at 13-5 overall.
Santos Zaps Marshman with Second Round Wheel Kick
Like the first fight of the night, the second occurred in the middleweight division, where fellow military paratroopers Jack Marshman and Thiago “Marreta” Santos met in a clash of dangerous strikers.
Though Marshman was able to hurt his foe with punches in the first frame, Santos survived, and ultimately rallied in the second, where he cut his foe down with a light-speed wheel kick and finished him off with a series of ground strikes.
With this win, Santos rebounds from a pair of stoppage losses to Gegard Mousasi and Eric Spicely. He’s now 14-5 in sum. Marshman, meanwhile, experiences his first UFC loss after debuting with a second round thumping of Magnus Cedenblad. He’s now 21-6 overall.
Meerschaert Taps Janes with First-Round Armbar
The action began in the middleweight division, where Gerald Meerschaert and Ryan James made their sophomore UFC efforts against one another.
This one was all Meerschaert. After being taken down early, the American expertly slipped into position for an armbar, which he used to force his Canadian foe to tap. The end came at the 1:34 mark of round one.
With this win, Meerschaert moves to 2-0 in the UFC, and a strong 26-8 overall. Janes, meanwhile, now owns a 1-1 UFC record, and sits at 9-2 overall.
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