Mark Pavelich's Canadian based mixed martial arts promotion, Maximum Fighting Championships (MFC), closed out its 2009 fight season earlier tonight with MFC 23: "Unstoppable" from the River Cree Resort and Casino in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
The card featured a heavy emphasis on the middleweight division with the company looking for some clarity in its vacant 185-pound title picture. Three of the HDNet televised main card bouts involved hopefuls for a shot at that championship in 2010, including a main event between former UFC fighters Thales Leites and Dean Lister.
Here's how it all played out.
In the headliner, Leites earned a unanimous decision win over "The Boogeyman" by controlling the majority of the fight both standing up and on the ground.
For the most part, the two Brazilian jiu-jitsu experts were at a stalemate on the ground, but Leites maintained better positions, spending most of the mat time on top while Lister did little more than just hang on from the bottom.
Lister wasn't very active on his feet either, although that may have had a lot to do with Leites' ability to keep him at a distance with some crisp leg kicks and decent boxing.
I wouldn't classify this fight as exciting by any means, but Leites certainly did enough to win the decision. In his post fight remarks the Brazilian expressed his desire and made his case for a spot in that future vacant title fight.
He may just get his wish.
Local favorite Jason MacDonald also had a solid showing in the co-main event, appearing to win a clear cut decision over "Ultimate Fighter" season 3 alum, Solomon Hutcherson.
"The Athlete" used an aggressive ground attack to maintain solid positions, which allowed him to attempt numerous submissions throughout the fight. Hutcherson proved difficult to finish off and he had one or two nice reversals, but for the most part MacDonald dominated this fight on the mat.
But after a bizarre lengthy post-fight deliberation, the judge's ruled the fight a draw (29-28, 28-29, 28-28). MacDonald was flabbergasted. The crowd was furious. The announcers were at a loss for words. It was just an odd scene, and it appeared that this outcome was going to be just one more on a long list of questionable decisions in recent MMA matches.
However, after the first round of the main event it was announced that there was a miscalculation by the judge who scored the bout a tie. Apparently his card was tallied wrong and the ruling was changed in favor of the hometown fighter.
It's hard to decide what to make of that mess. Maybe there really was a mathematical error. Maybe there wasn't. Either way, it looks bad for the Canadian athletic commission and the MFC, even if it had nothing to do with the decision.
MacDonald clearly deserved the win though, but having lost six of nine fights prior to tonight, is he deserving of a title shot?
The third middleweight hopeful, Bryan "The Beast" Baker, out-pointed Art "Pachuco" Santore, a man 13 years his elder, by using a combination of leg kicks and heavy punches throughout the three round battle.
The former WEC combatant pushed his record to 11-1, which is a solid resume. But did he do enough, or more than Jason MacDonald, tonight to earn a shot at the vacant strap in 2010?
Time will tell.
Also on the card was a light heavyweight match up that looked fantastic on paper but turned into a less than exciting chess match in the ring as former MFC title holder Emanuel "The Hardcore Kid" Newton and winner of eleven in a row Ryan "Big Deal" Jimmo locked horns.
Jimmo held off the wrestling attack of the ex-champ and stayed active with a variety of strikes that proved effective enough to earn the unanimous decision victory.
Journeyman Marvin Eastman was also in action, making his fourth start of 2009 and third under the MFC banner. However, "The Beastman" continued his rapid downward spiral, losing his third straight, this time to Dwayne Lewis.
The Alberta native notched career (technical) knockout number 6, dropping Eastman with seconds remaining in the first round on a brutal uppercut out of the clinch. With the win, the 8 fight MFC veteran improved his overall winning streak to 6 straight.
Check out the complete results of MFC 23: "Unstoppable" below:
Thales Leites defeated Dean Lister via unanimous decision
Jason MacDonald defeated Solomon Hutcherson via split decision
Ryan Jimmo defeated Emanuel Newton via unanimous decision
Bryan Baker defeated Art Santore via unanimous decision
Dwayne Lewis defeated Marvin Eastman via knockout (punch) at 4:58 of round 1
Jesse Juarez defeated Joe Christopher via unanimous decision
Nick Penner defeated Ryan Fortin via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:31 of round 2
Ryan Machan defeated Kajan Johnson via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:30 of round 1
Billy Hua defeated Kenny Hamilton via technical knockout (strikes) at 0:20 of round 2
That's a wrap from Edmonton.
It was a strange night with some slow fights and not many finishes. But it was still a decent showing by the MFC and there looks to be some solid fights on the horizon for the promotion, which hopefully means more good things to come from the neighbors to the north in 2010.