Heavyweight Mark Hunt suffered the first knock out of his UFC career and James Te Huna's aspirations of advancing in his division also ended up on the canvas in Las Vegas today as Brazillian opponents secured comfortable victories over the Kiwi duo.
Hunt, softened up by a staggering overhand right hand in the opening round of his bout with Junior Dos Santos, hung tough to prolong the agony until the former world champion surprised him with a spinning back kick to the head before going in for the kill late inside the final minute of a relentless battle.
Dos Santos followed the defenceless Kiwi to the floor and connected with a full-blooded right to the jaw before the referee dived across Hunt's body to prevent further damage 4min 18 seconds into the climatic five-minute round.
Hunt got to his feet but was jelly-legged and bleeding from the mouth and left ear - the legacy of a Dos Santos' scene-setting punch in round one that knocked the 39-year-old Sydney based mixed martial arts exponent off balance.
Dos Santos neglected to seek an early end to his 16th professional triumph but was in complete control despite being cut above his right eye.
Hunt, who now was a record of 9 wins and 8 losses, hit the target again with a trademark left hook with 1min 40 secs remaining in the second round, a blow that forced Dos Santos to switch strategy and initiate the only take down of the fight.
Dos Santos, who entered the octagon at the MGM Grand, as the No.1 contender in the heavyweight division, powered Hunt to the ground and increased his leads on the judges' card by elbowing the New Zealander in the face.
Hunt managed to extricate himself in the dying seconds of the round and heading into the finale he needed a knock down to extend his UFC winning streak to five and climb further up the rankings from ninth.
Instead Dos Santos landed his own left hook that stunned Hunt 80 seconds into the final round and ensured he was vulnerable for the remainder of a one-sided contest.
Glover Teixeira also ruled his short-lived light heavyweight bout with Te Huna, who succumbed to a guillotine choke submission just 2 min 33 secs into the first round.
With heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson watching on, the 33-year-old South American had his hero performing a standing ovation when the Sydney-based Kiwi surrendered by tapping his tormentor on his shorts while jammed on the canvas.
Teixeira, who has not lost a fight since 2007, boosted his record to 4-0 in the UFC and is now ranked No.4 in the division after inflicting one of the heaviest defeats of Te Huna's career.
The Brazillian connected with two right hand jabs early before his superior ground game took precedence over punching power.
A noted jiu-jitsu specialist, Teixeira made his first take down and pinned a helpless Te Huna while landing scoring blows.
The 31-year-old eventually got upright though only momentarily before Teixeira clamped the Kiwi on the ground again, locked up a full guard and twisted him sideways before the referee acted on his pleas to stop the bout.
Hunt and Te Huna, who had won 10 of his last 11 fights, were drafted on to the card at UFC 160 as replacements for Alistair Overeem and Ryan Bader respectively and justified their underdog status.
In the main event American Cain Velasquez defended his heavyweight crown for the first time with an emphatic opening-round TKO of Brazillian Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva.
- © Fairfax NZ News