Mark Hunt stands up to Silva heat at UFC 33
LIAM DUCEY AND BEN STANLEY
Kiwi Mark Hunt and Brazilian Antonio 'Big Foot' Silva have battled their way to a majority draw in one of the greatest fights in UFC heavyweight history in Brisbane today.
Hunt, a former K-1 world champion, came into the fight at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre as the underdog to Silva - who contended for the heavyweight title earlier this year - but showed immense heart to force the fight into five full rounds.
Stand-up slugging dominated the headline event in UFC Fight Night 33, with Hunt's powerful left fist keeping him in the encounter throughout the first three rounds.
Silva, meanwhile, showed more ability on the ground and with his feet, but each time the Brazilian pinned the New Zealander, Hunt was able to fight his way out.
Hunt knocked Silva to the canvas with a right hook in the third round, and dished out significant punishment to his opponent as he lay on the ground.
Yet Silva took it, and tables turned in the fourth, with Hunt the one barely hanging on until the bell.
Both fighters clobbered each other through the fifth round with little left in the tank, and judges scored the fight 48-47 (to Hunt), 47-47 and 4-7 for a majority draw; a deserved result for both.
Earlier in the night, things started poorly for the Kiwis, with both James Te Huna and Dylan Andrews losing their fights by knock-outs.
Te Huna took a brutal left hook by Brazilian opponent Maurico 'Shogun' Rua in the first round of his light heavyweight fight, and collapsed to the floor immediately.
The fight lasted only 1 minute and 3 seconds, before Rua, a former light heavyweight world champion, landed the blow and resigned Te Huna to his second straight UFC defeat.
Te Huna's record now stands at 4-3. Earlier in the afternoon, Andrews fight against American Clint Hester was called off after the second round with the Wellington-born middlweight suffering a dislocated shoulder.
The fight was ruled a technical knock-out to Hester, who looked by far the better of the two mixed martial artists throughout the fight. The defeat was Andrews first in the UFC, with his record now 2-1.
Earlier in the event, the preliminary card kicked off with Queensland's own Ben 'Manimal' Wall taking on Alex 'The Dominican Nightmare' Garcia.
Unfortunately for Wall, he had a less that auspicious Octagon debut, getting knocked out 43 seconds into the first round.
While Wall was genuinely beaten, Maroubra fighter Richie Vaculik could be forgiven for wondering what he did wrong in his first round loss to Justin Scoggins.
A debut for both men, Scoggins started with a flashy kicking game before taking 'Vas' down, and he stayed on the Australian like a blanket before earning a technical knock-out.
The early leader for fight of the night was a three round war between Nam Phan and Takeya Mizugaki, with both fighters relentless in their attack.
The fight did not go to the mat at all and Mizugaki consistently tagged Nam Phan, but the fighter from Little Saigon showed incredible heart and simply would not be put down.
While it was a unanimous decision for Mizugaki, Phan gained a legion of new Australian fans while Mizugaki , with his fourth straight win, moves into the upper echelon of the bantamweight division.
In the other preliminary fights, Kryzystof Jotko ground out a win over Bruno Santos in a middleweight bout that reached no great heights, while Caio Magalhaes did enough in the second round to win over Nick Ring, leaving UFC veteran Ring 1-3 in his last three fights.
- Fairfax Media