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In front of a raucous home crowd in New Zealand, Mark Hunt picked up a fourth-round TKO win over Derrick Lewis to get back on a winning track while handing the ferocious knockout artist his first loss in seven fights.
Hunt was entering the fight off a tough knockout loss of his own, so it was understandable why he was a slight underdog, but the 43-year old veteran never wavered in his confidence as he stepped into the Octagon.
Hunt persevered through some hard shots landed by Lewis in the opening two rounds, including a series of leg kicks that opened a gash on his shin after he blocked one of the shots. Still, Hunt remained calm, cool and collected, stalking Lewis around the Octagon while unloading a barrage of punches to the head and body.
Finally, in the fourth round, with Lewis keeping his hands low and chin high, Hunt saw the opening he needed to bring an end to the contest as he went on the attack and didn't stop until the referee called a stop to the contest. Despite having the home crowd advantage, Hunt was still only selected by 41 percent of fantasy players going into the event, although an overwhelming majority of 90 percent who did pick the former K-1 kickboxing champion expected he would get the job done by knockout.
Hunt gets the win while Lewis suffers defeat for the first time in his last seven fights.
In the co-main event, Derek Brunson returned from two straight losses with a very impressive outing against former Australian Olympian Dan Kelly. Brunson needed less than a round to find a home for a devastating left hand that absolutely floored Kelly and brought an end to the fight by knockout.
Brunson was actually one of the biggest favorites on the entire card, with 79 percent of fantasy players picking him going into the night and another 67 percent selecting him to get the victory by way of knockout.
While Brunson enjoyed his status as a favorite, Dan Hooker earned a thrilling knockout as one of the bigger underdogs on the card. Hooker earned a Performance of the Night bonus after landing a spectacular knee strike knockout against former Ultimate Fighter winner Ross Pearson in the second round. Hooker was only picked by 30 percent of fantasy players, but the Australian came through in a big way as he earned another highlight reel knockout to add to his resume.
The flip-flop between favorites and underdogs continued on the main card, with Ion Cutelaba picking up an emphatic 22-second knockout over Henrique da Silva after 65 percent of fantasy players picked him going into the night. Meanwhile, the biggest upset on the main card took place in the flyweight division after Ben Nguyen shocked Ultimate Fighter season 24 champion Tim Elliott with a first round rear naked choke submission.
Nguyen was selected by just 14 percent of fantasy players, which means the participants who picked him enjoyed those points when the final scores were tallied.
On the preliminary portion of the show, Vinc Pichel returned after three years away to earn a stunning knockout over Damien Brown. Despite his long absence from the sport, fantasy players had Pichel pegged, with 60 percent picking him going into the event and another 49 percent predicting he would win by knockout.
John Moraga enjoyed heavy favorite status for his fight against newcomer Ashkan Mokhtarian, with a whopping 84 percent of players picking him, and he did not disappoint after putting on a nearly flawless performance over three rounds. Zak Ottow also came through with an impressive win after 68 percent of players had him earning the nod against Kiichi Kunimoto.
The only upset on the prelims came from local favorite Luke Jumeau, who earned a unanimous decision win against Dominique Steele in his UFC debut. Jumeau was picked by just 21 percent of players, but he also earned an extra 40 points thanks to the fight serving as his first inside the Octagon.
All told, UFC Fight Night from New Zealand ended with seven favorites walking away victorious and four underdogs pulling off the upset according the selections made by fantasy players.