The UFC ‘killed it’ in Manchester last night, according to its president Dana White, who said the event was a huge success.
The mixed martial arts event, which took place at the Phones 4u Arena, was under-fire after faltering ticket sales meant an attendance of just over ten thousand.
However, White announced after the event – which saw Lyoto ‘The Dragon’Machida emphatically announce his presence in the middleweight division – that the gate total was $1.5million.
“We killed it in Manchester like we always do,” he said at the post fight press conference.
“People are talking about this not being a success but $1.5milllion sounds pretty good to me.”
It was the first time the UFC has been back to Manchestersince 2009 and the highlight of the night came in the main event.
Lyoto Machida made his first appearance in the octagon since dropping down into the middleweight division and took on training partner Mark Munoz.
After three minutes of typical Machida illusiveness, the Brazilian landed a beautiful roundhouse kick to the head – instantly dropping the American.
The Dragon swarmed but, in a great show of sportsmanship, refrained from striking the clearly incapacitated Munoz.
After the fight Machida admitted that he had mixed emotions about the spectacular finish against his friend.
“I am pleased with the result but I am a little upset because you don’t want to hurt your friend,” he said.
“I had a great camp, I am a professional and sometimes you have to take a fight even if you don’t want to do it.”
It was a mixed night for British fighters after Ross Pearson’s co-main event dual with Melvin Guillard was stopped in the first round due to an accidental knee to the grounded Sunderland man’s head.
The doctor deemed the cut too severe to continue and the fight was judged to be a no contest – much to the anger of ten thousand booing fans.
Both fighters were disappointed with the stoppage and declared their intentions to rematch in the future.
“I think the fans lost on this one tonight. I want to come back to England, the fans here are great, and do a fight night with Ross,” said Guillard
“I love Manchester and I’ll definitely be back.”
British woes were further compounded when Manchester’s Rosi Sexton took on Jessica Andrade in the women’s bantamweight division.
Andrade dominated a completely one sided fight that Dana White said should have been stopped earlier.
The Brazilian’s boxing was impeccable and she picked Sexton apart with 15 minutes of non-stop power punching.
Sexton had no answer’s the Andrade’s timing but showed incredible heart to take the fight all the way to the scorecards which, unsurprisingly, came back unanimously in favour of Andrade.
After the fight Andrade said: “I was impressed with how much punishment Rosi could take, I can’t imagine anyone that could take as much as that.
“I was going for the knockout but props to Rosi.”
The UFC rules state that a fighter must be intelligently defending themselves otherwise it will be stopped.
The Sexton fight called into question whether there needs to be a clarification of terms in order to prevent fighters from taking unnecessary punishment.
“I agree 100% that fight should have been stopped,” said White.
“I said what we should do is bring the referee out in the hallway and let someone punch him in the face for 15 minutes, and nobody jump in to help him, just to see what it feels like.”
While there were a few disappointments for British fighters,Cambridge’s Luke Barnatt picked up an impressive submission victory and a $50,000 ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus.
The 6ft 6in fighter squared off against Andrew Craig and dropped the American twice with right hands before sealing the victory with rear-naked choke.