HALIFAX â€” Derrick (The Black Beast) Lewis used his power to defeat Travis (Hapa) Browne by knockout at 3:12 of the second round on Sunday in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card at Scotiabank Centre.
Browne landed body shots in the opening round of the heavyweight bout that appeared to affect Lewis, who was seen holding his stomach at various points in the round.
But Lewis (18-4) came out swinging early in the second and soon had Browne (18-6-1) covering his face near the cage. Moments later, Lewis took Browne to the mat and ended it with continuous punches to the face.
“I’ve got to work on my overall game. Me, I’m just about almost one-dimensional,” Lewis said at a post-fight press conference.
“I believe that I’ve got the most heart in this division, so if my heart can carry me … I just thank god for that.”
Lewis, who referred to himself as the interim heavyweight champ, wouldn’t give much praise to his opponent, saying that his stomach hurt because he had to go to the washroom, not because of the kicks landed by Browne.
“I was holding my gas in and trying to breathe at the same time. I didn’t want to (go) on national TV,” said Lewis. “Especially with this internet going around.”
Lewis entered ranked eighth among heavyweight contenders and has won his last six fights while Browne came in at No. 9. He has now lost five of his last seven bouts.
In the co-main event, former welterweight champion Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks had an excellent middleweight debut, defeating Hector Lombard by unanimous decision.
The judges scored it 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 for Hendricks (18-5), who was in need of a win over Lombard (34-7-1 with two no contests).
Hendricks was trying his hand at middleweight after a run of problems making 170 pounds. He had lost three straight and had just one win since losing his 170-pound title to (Ruthless) Robbie Lawler in December 2014.
At 185 pounds, Hendricks says he regrets waiting so long to make the jump to the next weight class.
“We made such a good mark at 170, it’s hard to give that up,” Hendricks told reporters. “I was trying to do it on my own instead of listening … to (my) body.
“I actually flowed out there, and that’s the first time I’ve flowed in I don’t know how long.”
Gavin Tucker, fighting out of Halifax, received a loud ovation from the crowd when he was announced for his featherweight bout against American Sam Sicilia.
The 30-year-old Tucker (10-0-0), originally from Ship Cove N.L., didn’t disappoint in his UFC debut either, scoring the unanimous decision over Sicilia (15-8) to stay undefeated.
Tucker more than doubled his opponent in strikes and opened Sicilia under the left eye. All three judges scored the bout 30-27.
“It was a dream come true, especially fighting here,” he told the roaring crowd. “As far as I know, I won. I didn’t wake up yet, so the dream’s not over.”
Toronto middleweight Elias (The Spartan) Theodorou beat Brazil’s Cezar Ferreira by unanimous decision.
The 28-year-old Theodorou (14-1) landed 53 strikes compared to just 17 for Ferreira (12-6) through the first two rounds and finished with a 74-20 overall advantage.
Ferreira led in takedowns and went for two submission attempts that the Canadian was able to sneak out of, stopping the Brazilian from gaining any sort of edge.
The judges scored the three-round bout 30-27, 29-28, 29-28.
Lightweight Alessandro Ricci of Woodbridge, Ont., lost by TKO to Paul (The Irish Dragon) Felder to open the main card.
Felder (13-3) caught the 34-year-old Ricci (10-5) with a left elbow to the nose, then pounded him to the ground near the cage to score the win at 4:44 of the first round.
Sara McMann (11-3) handed fellow American Gina Mazany (4-1) her first defeat in the women’s bantamweight division, via arm-triangle submission at 1:14 of the first round.
On the undercard, Montreal bantamweight Aiemann Zahabi (8-0), the younger brother of renowned trainer Firas Zahabai, defended the family name with a unanimous decision against Brazil’s Reginaldo Vieira (14-6).
Iranian-Canadian strawweight Randa Markos (7-5) of Windsor, Ont., eked out a split-decision victory against former champion Carla Esparza (12-5) of the United States.
Montreal-based French welterweight Nordine Taleb (11-5) lost by decision against Argentina’s Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3).
Middleweight Ryan Janes (9-3), a native of Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L., who fights out of Victoria, suffered defeat by submission against American Gerald Meerschaert (27-8).
A stylish backward swivel kick by Brazilian middleweight Thiago Santos (15-5) won over the crowd as he beat Jack Marshman (21-7) of Wales by knockout in the second round to round out the preliminary fights.
This was the UFC’s second card in Halifax and 23rd in Canada. Other cities to host events are Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Saskatoon, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg.
The Canadian Press