Max Holloway walked away with another victory in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s featherweight division but not in the manner in which he had envisioned.
Holloway (14-3, 10-3 UFC) was awarded a technical knockout when Charles Oliveira bowed out of their UFC Fight Night “Holloway vs. Oliveira” headliner with an apparent shoulder injury on Sunday at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It lasted just 99 seconds, as the Hawaiian secured his seventh straight win in anticlimactic fashion.
The surging Holloway cut angles and let loose with clean punches to the head and body, forcing “Do Bronx” to change course. Oliveira (20-5, 8-5 UFC) shot in for a double-leg takedown, only to be turned into the cage before falling to the mat. Holloway disengaged, and as Oliveira stood, it quickly became evident that he could not continue. He slumped against the fence, disappointed and in pain.
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Replacement Magny Downs Silva
In the welterweight co-main event, Elevation Fight Team’s Neil Magny rebounded from his first loss in nearly two years with a split decision over former Jungle Fight champion Erick Silva. Two of the three cageside judges scored it 29-28 and 30-27 for Magny, while a third cast a dissenting 29-28 nod for Silva.
Magny (16-4, 9-3 UFC), who filled in for the injured Rick Story on short notice, operated behind a consistent jab and fired off two, three, four and sometimes five at a time. Silva (18-6, 6-5 UFC) delivered takedowns in all three rounds but failed to consolidate them with damage; and outside of a number of thudding leg kicks, he was no match for Magny on the feet. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 16 semifinalist steered clear of his wild power shots and answered them with jabs and accurate right hands.
The 28-year-old Magny has won eight of his past nine bouts.
Resurgent Cote Stops Burkman
Former Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder Patrick Cote took out Josh Burkman with an overhand right and follow-up ground strikes in the third round of their welterweight showcase. Burkman (27-12, 5-7 UFC), who had never before been stopped by strikes, met his end 1:26 into round three.
Cote (22-9, 9-9 UFC) weathered some heavy artillery from “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 2 alum. Burkman staggered “The Predator” inside the first 30 seconds of round three and had him ducking for cover against the cage. Cote remained calm, relied on his stout chin and circled out of danger. Soon after, he flicked out a left jab and followed it with a crushing overhand right on Burkman’s jaw. The American crashed to the canvas, where he was met with a burst of Cote punches, elbows and hammerfists that led to the stoppage.
Cote, 35, has posted nine wins across his last 11 appearances.
Trinaldo Hands Laprise First Loss
Former Jungle Fight champion Francisco Trinaldo put away “The Ultimate Fighter Nations” winner Chad Laprise with first-round punches in a featured scrap at 155 pounds. The previously unbeaten Laprise (10-1, 3-1 UFC) yielded to blows 2:43 into round one.
Trinaldo (18-4, 8-3 UFC) dropped the Tristar Gym standout with a short left hand, pounced and advanced to the back. The Brazilian flattened out the still-dazed Laprise and unloaded with lefts and rights, his barrage forcing referee Herb Dean to intervene.
The 36-year-old Trinaldo has quietly rattled off four consecutive victories.
Aubin-Mercier Overwhelms Overmatched Sims
Takedowns, ground-and-pound and the constant threat of submissions carried Tristar Gym representative Olivier Aubin-Mercier to a unanimous verdict over Tony Sims in a three-round lightweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it for Aubin-Mercier (7-1, 3-1 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
A replacement for the injured Chris Wade, Sims (12-3, 1-1 UFC) had no answers for what “The Ultimate Fighter Nations” finalist brought to the table. Aubin-Mercier forced it to the ground in all three rounds and neutralized the Elevation Fight Team standout with superior technique and stick-to-itiveness. Sims had a brief window of opportunity early in round three, where he stuffed a takedown, trapped Aubin-Mercier at his feet and fired off punches and slashing elbows to the head. Alas, it did not yield the results he desired, as Aubin-Mercier moved out of danger and resumed his ground attack.
The defeat snapped a four-fight winning streak for Sims.
Letourneau Upends Upstart Moroz
American Top Team’s Valerie Letourneau slowed the rise of Ukrainian upstart Maryna Moroz, as she took a unanimous decision in a featured women’s strawweight clash. Letourneau (8-3, 3-0 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 marks from the judges.
Letourneau (8-3, 3-0 UFC) set the tone when she floored the 23-year-old with a ringing right hook two minutes into the match. Moroz (6-1, 1-1 UFC) survived but never seemed to turn the corner. Her success was limited and short-lived: She wobbled Letourneau with a stinging right in the second round and went in for the kill, but her bid to finish came up short. In the third round, Letourneau took top position, piled up points with her ground-and-pound and freed herself from an attempted triangle choke.
The 32-year-old Letourneau has won four fights in a row.