Lutter (10-5) used a dominating display of jiu-jitsu over the first two rounds to pull ahead before surviving a desperate ground-and-pound attack from MacDonald (21-13) in Round 3. All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Lutter. The fight went down before an amped-up, sold-out crowd at the River Cree Resort and Casino just outside Edmonton, Alberta, and aired live on HDNet Fights.
“It was all about following the game plan,” said Lutter, who twice had MacDonald in difficulty with rear-naked choke attempts.
MacDonald, fighting in front of a home-town audience for the first time in three years, poured on the pressure in the third round but couldn’t inflict enough damage to put Lutter away.
“I’m disappointed but I’ve been down before and I’ll get back up again,” said MacDonald.
In the co-main event, reigning MFC world lightweight champion Antonio McKee (26-3-2) put on a wrestling clinic en route to a clear-cut unanimous decision over Carlo Prater. The matchup had originally been scheduled for a five-round title fight but when Prater missed the 155-pound target (hitting the scales at 158) the bout was changed to a three-round non-title affair.
The result was never in doubt as McKee took down Prater (24-7) at will and the Brazilian was unable to fire off any offence.
“The MFC can put anybody they want in front of me – the title isn’t going anywhere,” offered McKee, who hoped a true title fight would happen in the near future.
Unquestionably the fight of the night was a light heavyweight clash between Mike Nickels and David Heath. Their encounter could very likely go down as the best fight in the MFC’s 10-year history in what turned out to be a wildly entertaining stand-up battle. Nickels (8-2) surprised everyone including his own corner as the standout jiu-jitsu practitioner was willing to go toe-to-toe with Heath. Both fighters were in serious trouble during the electrifying exchanges with Nickels battered and bloodied around both eyes.
But the Denver, Colorado, product put Heath (12-6) away in Round 3 with a flurry of punches leading to a rear-naked choke finish at the 4:02 mark that earned Nickels the Submission of the Night honor. Credit Heath for making it entertaining till the end, however, as he drew a raucous standing ovation from the crowd when he dropped his hands and let Nickels cleanly tee off on his unguarded chin.
Two vicious knockouts punctuated the televised the fight card. Veteran Pete “The Secret Weapon” Spratt flashed his long-reputed striking skills in a welterweight scrap with Nathan Gunn.
Spratt (20-13) worked through the pressure of a hard-charging Gunn in Round 1 then connected with several big shots to open up Round 2. The end came at 4:19 of the second when Spratt launched a rocket of an uppercut point-blank onto Gunn’s chin dropping him face first to the canvas. The crowd treated Spratt to a thunderous ovation and later he was duly rewarded with the Knockout of the Night. Gunn (7-1) remained motionless for quite some time while the fans reveled in numerous replays of the explosive finish.
In the much-anticipated matchup between John “The Natural” Alessio and Luigi “The Italian Tank” Fioravanti, a deliberate two-round build-up led to a stylish end at 1:34 of Round 3. One of the most popular figures in the MFC, Alessio (26-13) connected with a right counterpunch that landed flush on the chin of Fioravanti (15-6) who dropped flat on his back to the mat. Alessio landed another bomb to complete the stunning conclusion and in turn allow him to call out for a shot at the MFC world welterweight crown.
The six-fight televised card was rounded out with Ryan “The Big Deal” Jimmo (11-1) pulling out a controversial split-decision win over Marvin “The Beastman” Eastman (16-11). Despite carrying the action for the majority of the fight, Eastman was not awarded the verdict as the judges put up scorecards of 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 in Jimmo’s favor.
Results of the preliminaries:
Dwayne Lewis (9-4) def. Jared Kilkenny (12-7) – 3:31 Round 1, TKO
Jason Heit (3-0) def. Paapa Inkumsah (3-1) – 4:59 Round 2, TKO
Joe Christopher (8-2) def. Andrew Buckland (9-5) – 1:54 Round 1, tapout via guillotine choke
Nick Hrynchyshyn (2-0) def. Jesse MacDougall (0-1) – 4:29 Round 2, TKO
The Maximum Fighting Championship wraps up its 2009 schedule with MFC 23: Unstoppable going Friday, December 4 at the River Cree Resort and Casino. Tickets are now available by calling the MFC Ticket Hotline at (780) 504-2024 and via Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.ca and charge-by-phone (780) 451-8000.