Fabricio Werdum used a brilliant flying knee in the second round to overcome the striking of Mark Hunt and win the UFC interim heavyweight title in Mexico City.
Injured undisputed champion Cain Velasquez watched octagonside.
Werdum and Kelvin Gastelum secured the performances of the night while Henry Briones and Guido Cannetti snagged fight-of-the-night honours. All received $50,000 USD bonuses.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman shared her thoughts on the card:
UFC FIGHT PASS EARLY PRELIMS
MARCO “PSYCHO” BELTRA VS MARLON “CHITO” VERA
WINNER: MARCO BELTRA VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
WISEMAN PREDICTION: MARCO BELTRA VIA SUBMISSION
Wiseman: The first round had a terrible axe-kick connection to the groin of Beltran. Before, that it was Vera winning the round and the round ended with Vera just trying to breath. The second round had Vera going for several choke attempts, but Beltran showed fantastic defence. Beltran escaped and got into mount position to unleash vicious ground-and-pound. The final round had both fighters going for it. Beltran aggressive in the stand up game and Vera aggressive on the mat. A fantastic first fight. A decision win for Beltran. First win in four fights.
HENRY “BURE” BRIONES VS GUIDO “NINJA” CANNETTI
WINNER: HENRY BRIONES VIA SUBMISSION
WISEMAN PREDICTION: HENRY BRIONES VIA SUBMISSION
Wiseman: As I predicted, it was the precise technical striking of Briones that really win him the fight. It was an incredible upper cut that connected which rocked Cannetti, then he sunk in the rear-naked choke for the submission win. Fantastic fight.
SPORTSNET 360 PRELIMS
GABRIEL “MOGGLY” BENITEZ VS HUMBERTO “EL GATO NEGRO” BROWN
WINNER: GABRIEL BENITEZ VIA SUBMISSION
WISEMAN PREDICTION: GABRIEL BENITEZ VIA SUBMISSION
Wiseman: While Benitez worked the choke for three rounds, it didn’t take him long in the final round to put things together. Brown, after escaping dangerous attempts throughout the first two rounds, was out in seconds. Great energy and persistence put on by the more technical striker Benitez.
#6 JESSICA “EVIL” EYE VS #13 LESLIE “THE PEACEMAKER” SMITH
WINNER: JESSCIA EYE VIA DOCTOR STOPPAGE
WISEMAN PREDICTION: JESSICA EYE VIA SPLIT-DECISION
Wiseman: The craziest stoppage I’ve witnessed since watching the UFC. The left ear of Smith was almost punched off, yet the heart of Smith just had her wanting to keep going. Incredible. The speed and precise striking of Eye was too much for Smith, but a ton of love going out to the passion and heart of Smith. Always a trooper. Perfect game plan put on by Eye.
ALEJANDRO “DIABLITO” PEREZ VS JOSE “TECO” QUINONEZ
WINNER: ALEJANDRO PEREZ VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
WISEMAN PREDICTION: ALEJANDRO PEREZ VIA SUBMISSION
Wiseman: It was a crazy back-and-forth battle with both fighters putting on a show. This fight was historic for several reasons, Perez was the first Latin-America TUF winner, but it was also the first time I have ever seen an intentional head-butt resulting in a two-point deduction. This made it impossible for Quinonez to win outside of a finish, but they both showed heart in the battle.
YAIR “EL PANTERA” RODRIGUEZ VS LEONARDO “CHIMMY” MORALES
WINNER: YAIR RODRIGUEZ VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
WISEMAN PREDICTION: YAIR RODRIGUEZ VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28).
Wiseman: Crazy kicks, submission attempts, and loads of power in every combination. Just an entertaining fight. Realistically, it came down to the ground game of Rodriguez. His ability to attack off his back really forced Morales unable to take advantage of top position. It was very back-and-forth, but ultimately Rodriguez edged out a decision win with his jiu-jitsu.
EDGAR GARCIA VS HECTOR URBINA
WINNER: HECTOR URBINA VIA SUBMISSION
WISEMAN PREDICTION: EDGAR GARCIA VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Wiseman: Garcia showed early grappling strength, but he allowed his neck to hang out there while trying to gain position. That mistake led to an early submission in the first round.
AUGUSTO “DODGER” MONTANO VS CHRIS “STUMP” HEATHERLY
WINNER: AUGUSTO MONTANO VIA TKO
WISEMAN PREDICTION: AUGUSTO MONTANO VIA TKO
Wiseman: As predicted, Montano was too aggressive and powerful for Heatherly. Using his ground smarts to get back to his feet and just unleash relentless knees until the ref stepped in for a stoppage.
#4 RICARDO “THE BULLY” LAMAS VS #7 DENNIS BERMUDEZ
WINNER: RICARDO LAMAS VIA SUBMISSION
WISEMAN PREDICTION: DENNIS BERMUDEZ VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Wiseman: The aggression and power advantage went to Bermudez, but it just took one clear shot by Lamas and a quick submission transition for the fight to be over. Incredible finish and show of skill against a high-level opponent.
#7 JAKE “THE JUGGERNAUT” ELLENBERGER VS #11 KELVIN GASTELUM
WINNER: KELVIN GASTELUM VIA SUBMISSION
WISEMAN PREDICTION: KELVIN GASTELUM VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Wiseman: Just amazing how much Gastelum has grown in his career. To out-maneuver a vet like Ellenberger is incredible. What potential.
#1 FABRICIO “VAL CAVALO” WERDUM VS #4 MARK “SUPER SAMOAN” HUNT
WINNER: FABRICIO WERDUM VIA TKO
WISEMAN PREDICTION: FABRICIO WERDUM VIA SUBMISSION
Wiseman: It was all Hunt until a flying knee connected in the second round. Werdum jumped on top of Hunt and started pounding until the ref stepped in. No one saw a TKO finish, but certainly a way to put a stamp on the belt.