PHOTO CREDITS: (mmacanada.net)
The very first UFC event in Saskatchewan officially concluded last night in Saskatoon. UFC Fight Night 74 was headlined by #5 featherweight and #7 featherweight, USA’s Max Holloway and Brazil’s Charles Oliveria. The UFC brought everything to Saskatoon, starting on Friday.
DAY 1: UFC ARRIVES
The UFC fighters and staff arrived on Thursday but they didn’t interact with the fans until Friday. The fighters on the card took to O’Brians Event Center in Saskatoon for the open workouts. Fans that attended witnessed a UFC Experience in Saskatchewan for the first time. Jordan Mein and Saskatoon’s own Mitch Clarke signed autographs and interacted with fans from 1pm-5pm.
PHOTO CREDITS: (thestarpheonix.com)
DAY 2: WEIGH-IN DAY
Day 2 in “Toon Town” started with UFC Octagon Girl, Chrissy Blair signing autographs with the fans, Cody Garbrandt, Sarah Kaufman, Tyron Woodley, and Elias Theodorou were also apart of those interactions. While the fighters were signing and taking photos, the fans waiting had a “Fitness Challenge” to test their might at different activities including push-ups and how hard you can punch. There was a stand for UFC gear including Reebok attire and official fight posters. There was a bouncy castle for the young fans, the official mobile and console EA Sports UFC able for anyone to play. At 2:30 pm local time, the fans took their places in the SaskTel Centre for a Q&A involving UFC commentator Jon Anik, welterweight Tyron Woodley, and bantamweight Cody Garbrandt answered the questions given. Up-and-coming middleweight Elias Theodorou even appeared in a Saskatchewan Roughriders jersey (a Canadian Football Team in the CFL), and holding a kids balloon.
Next came the weigh-ins, the first fighter weighed in at 4pm local time. Once the weigh-ins concluded, the fans began to head home and wait for the fights on Sunday.
PHOTO CREDITS: (notey.com) Top: Max Holloway (left) in the stare down with Charles Oliveria (right).
DAY 3: IT’S TIME!
The day that UFC fans around the world have been waiting for started off with another UFC Fan Experience. The second UFC Octagon Girl, Vanessa Hanson signed and took photographs. Jordan Mein, Tyron Woodley, Mitch Clarke, Cody Garbrandt, and Elias Theodorou all showed up for a second time for autographs and more pictures with UFC fans. The doors opened at 3pm local time and the Fight Pass prelims began at 4pm local time. The UFC Fight Pass prelims saw Misha Cirkunov KO/TKO with :14 seconds remaining in round number 1. Then, Canadian Shane Campbell defeated Elias Silverio via unanimous decision. Then came the UFN 74 prelims available on The Fight Network. Official prelim results can be found below:
~C. Kelades def C. Beal via Spl. Dec.
~N. Krylov def M. Rogerio De Lima via Sub.
~F. Arantes def Y. Jabouin via Sub.
~F. Perez def S. Stout via KO/TKO
Following the prelims, came the main card available on TSN 5 at 7pm local time. The official main card results are listed below:
~V. Letourneau def M. Moroz via Un. Dec.
~O. Aubin-Mercier def T. Sims via Un. Dec.
~F. Trinaldo def C. Laprise via KO/TKO
~P. Cote def J. Burkman via KO/TKO
~N. Magny def E. Silva via Spl. Dec.
~M. Holloway def C. Oliveria via KO/TKO (injury)
The event saw 7,202 people and brought in roughly $949,000 (CAD).
BIG EVENTS OF THE FIGHTS
~Frankie Perez came out with a shocking upset against Canadian veteran Sam “Hands Of Stone” Stout only to retire at the very young age of 26 years old. Perez claimed that he didn’t like what MMA does to his body and that he wants to spend more time with family. Fox Sports panelist Michael “The Count” Bisping couldn’t wrap his head around Perez’s decision.
~Three consecutive Canadians began the main card, as Valerie Letourneau and Oliver Aubin-Mercier each picked up unanimous decision victories while Chad Laprise suffered his first pro loss in the hand of Fransisco Trinaldo by way of KO/TKO.
~Canadian veteran Patrick Cote erupted the Saskatoon crowd with a stunning KO over Josh Burkman.
~Neil Magny picked up a split decision victory over dangerous Brazilian, Erick Silva. Magny just fought 22 days prior at UFC 190 where he came up short against Demian Meia.
~Charles Oliveria was injured with 3:26 left with what looked like an apparent collarbone or shoulder injury. A news release courtesy of MMAJunkie.com stated that Oliveria suffered a torn esophagus in the fight. According to Oliveria, he had a neck injury during training camp but followed all rehab and believed that he was ready to fight Max Holloway. Oliveria said that he would like a rematch with Holloway in the near future.
~Finally, Max Holloway started #UFCHawaii and challenged former UFC lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar in his home state of Hawaii.
~Frankie Perez & Felipe Arantes pick up Performance of The Night honours while Patrick Cote and Josh Burkman pick up the Fight Of The Night. All win $50,000 for their outstanding performance.
For the first time in Saskatchewan, the UFC brought a lot, the fans were into it, and the majority enjoyed it. And although the main event was anticlimatic, the card was a solid one. Hopefully, the UFC will return to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in the foreseeable future.