A crowd of 8,649 was in attendance at the Spark Arena in Auckland on Sunday afternoon as New Zealand-born Mark Hunt managed to stop Derrick Lewis’ six-fight win streak with a stoppage in the fourth round.
With both fighters knowing that all it would take it was one punch to end the fight, a tentative start was seen with each fighter feeling out the range and defence of their opponent. Somewhat surprisingly it was Lewis who opened up proceedings early on with a jumping switch kick that seemed to go at odds with his weight and stature but was thrown with such clear precision. As Hunt landed a left-right combination the crowd erupted and this trend would continue throughout the fight each time Hunt pressed Lewis and threw his combinations. Again it was Lewis who was aiming high with his kicks, targeting Hunt’s head and as the round came to an end it was tough to split the two.
Lewis started the second round with more high and low kicks before an accidental eye poke stopped the fight temporarily while the ringside doctor came to inspect. Given the all clear, the action started again almost immediately. Chasing Lewis across the cage, Hunt was able to land a series of targeted leg kicks, in addition to some well-timed left hooks that had Lewis on the back foot as the round came to a close.
The crowd were vocal as the third round began and Hunt continued to stalk Lewis across the cage and it seemed like only a matter of time before one of the two would land the knockout blow. Hunt’s big fight experience began to shine through as Lewis seemed to tire and it wasn’t before long that we saw his hand on his hips, a sure sign that the gas tank was starting to empty. Seeing this and looking to pounce on the opportunity, Hunt continued to push forward on Lewis, but was unable to get a breakthrough as the round came to a close.
The action slowed right down as the fourth round commenced and now the fight seemed like it would come down to a battle of attrition. Hunt continued to land some clean leg kicks early in the round before a well-timed right hand dropped cleanly on the jaw of Lewis. A few body shots and another strong left-right combo from Hunt was the beginning of the end for Lewis as he was pressed up against the cage absorbing punch after punch from Hunt. As Hunt continued to pepper in the punches with Lewis doing his best to defend, referee Marc Goddard had seen enough and put a stop to the fight at 3:51 into the fourth round.
As Hunt, his family and the crowd celebrated the win, it was Lewis who remarked in his post fight comments to Brian Stann that this may have been his last fight, seemingly announcing his retirement to those in attendance. Whether or not this was said in the heat of the moment remains to be seen.
For their efforts, both Lewis and Hunt earned a $50,000 bonus for being named Fight of The Night.
Results Main Card:
Results Preliminary Card:
Results Fight Pass Preliminary Card: