Brazilian MMA fighting legend Cris Cyborg bounced back into the win column Saturday, pummelling Montreal’s Felicia Spencer with punches, leg kicks and knee shots to win a unanimous decision at UFC 240.
Cyborg (21-2, 1 NC), with blood spilling down her face from a first-round Spencer elbow, pounded Spencer and repulsed multiple attacks to put her in a clinch or take her down in the women’s featherweight fight at Rogers Place.
Spencer (7-1) had the crowd cheering her name as she withstood the assault and launched a few counterstrikes of her own, her white shirt stained red with Cyborg’s blood.
Cyborg, 34, is trying to rebuild her brand after coming off a loss to Amanda Nunes in a featherweight championship fight in December, Cyborg’s first defeat in 13 years.
This was her last fight on her UFC contract.
She has been trading barbs with UFC president Dana White in the media after he accused her of avoiding a rematch with Nunes.
Later Saturday, in the second headline fights, Hawaiian Max Holloway was set to defend his featherweight title against former UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar.
It was a night of mixed results for Canadians at Rogers Place.
On the main card, Quebec City’s Marc-Andre Barriault (11-3) lost a split decision to Poland’s Krzysztof Jotko in a middleweight tilt that featured a lot of clinch fighting on the fence.
Montreal’s Olivier Aubin-Mercier, 30, (12-5) lost a unanimous-decision lightweight fight to 22-year-old Arman Tsarukyan of Armenia.
Aubin-Mercier snuck in a couple of good strikes but Tsarukyan kept him on the fence for much of the first two rounds, then took him down in the third and wore him down with punches and elbow shots.
Watch below (July 26): UFC 240 takes place at Rogers Place in Edmonton this weekend. Alberta’s Tanner Boser was supposed to take part, but as Kevin Karius explains, he says he was told his fight has been cancelled.
American welterweights Geoff Neal and Niko Price put on a back-and-forth brawl that had the crowd cheering. Neal won a TKO when he pinned Price to the canvas in the middle of the second round and pounded him until Price’s arms went limp.
In the preliminaries, Halifax fighter Gavin Tucker exorcised some demons from a hellacious beating in 2017 with his first MMA win in two years.
Tucker, 33, won by submission over South Korean striker Seungwoo Choi, 26, with a rear naked choke midway through the third round of their featherweight fight.
It was the first MMA fight for Tucker (11-1) since UFC 215 in Edmonton almost two years ago, when he was beaten so badly by Rick Glenn he was hospitalized with a fractured jaw and broken bones to his face.
Gillian Robertson, 24, (7-3 in MMA) of Niagara Falls, Ont., dismantled Brazil’s Sarah Frota, 32, in a women’s flyweight fight.
Robertson, 24, won a TKO late in the second round. She took Frota down in the first and second rounds and eventually wore Frota down, grounding and pounding her and opening cuts over both her eyes.
In a featherweight fight, Calgary’s Hakeem Dawodu dominated Japanese fighter Yoshniori Hori, ending in a third round TKO at 4:09.
Alexis Davis of Port Colborne, Ont., lost a unanimous women’s flyweight decision to Brazil’s Viviane Araujo, with Araujo pummelling Davis’s face like a punching bag into a puffy, bloody mess.
In a spirited flyweight battle of Brazilians, Alexandre Pantoja and Deiveson Figueiredo stayed on their feet for three rounds, trading flurries of jabs and uppercuts that left Pantoja’s face streaked with blood. Figueiredo won a unanimous decision.
Erik Koch took fellow American Kyle Stewart down four times to win a unanimous decision in their welterweight scrap. It was a fight that involved mainly clinch strikes and grappling on the fence.