UFC Auckland: Lewis vs. Hunt Fox Sports 1 Prelims Results and Recap

UFC 216 UFC Auckland / UFC Fight Night 110's John Moraga from Fox Sports 1 Prelims
Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

UFC Fight Night 110: Lewis vs. Hunt had a four fight Fox Sports 1 Prelim go down Saturday night (Sunday in Auckland, NZ where the event was held). With a main event featuring heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Mark Hunt headlining the card, there was lots of action on tap for the UFC Auckland event.

The UFC Auckland Fox Sports 1 prelim card saw a number of notable names return to action, including Japan’s Kiichi Kunimoto, flyweight contender John Moraga, and in the featured fight, Australia’s Damien Brown taking on Ultimate Fighter vet Vinc Pichel. While the main event of UFC Fight Night 110: Lewis vs. Hunt promised fireworks, the undercard, and especially the prelims, were a bit of a question mark.

Lets take a look at how the prelim action unfolded!

Kiichi Kunimoto vs. Zak Ottow

A welterweight scrap between Japan’s Kiichi Kunimoto, out of action for two years, and Zak Ottow opened the UFC Auckland Fox Sports 1 card. Ottow got things going first with a leg kick, which was answered by Kunimoto. Kunimoto showed a number of solid kicks early, but Ottow managed to hold the center of the octagon regardless. Ottow began to fluidly switch between orthodox and southpaw stances, and eventually the Japanese fighter was looking for the takedown, to no avail. Ottow then managed to rock his opponent, catching him with a hook, then stuffed a Kunimoto takedown. The Japanese fighter pressed Ottow against the cage, but Ottow was able to use a whizzer to avoid being taken down. He’d fend off takedown attempts for the remainder of the round.

Kunimoto’s corner warned him that he lost the first round during the break between rounds. The duo opened with a pair of leg kicks. Kunimoto looked to be trying to load up on a big punch, but wound up eating shots as a result. Ottow connected with a leg kick but Kunimoto timed it and scored the takedown. With three minutes to go in the frame, Kunimoto had lots of time to work. However, Ottow would manage to fight free, make it back to his feet and wind up on top. That allowed Ottow to hold his opponent down against the fence, then take his back. Kunimoto tried to use the fence to his advantage, then tried to turn into Ottow to fend off a choke. With a little under a minute to go, the Japanese fighter managed to regain top position, and landed a solid strike from the top. At the end of the round, Kunimoto tried to pull off a guillotine, but couldn’t complete.

In the third round, Kunimoto went back to work almost immediately, taking the fight to the ground and knowing he likely needed a stoppage to pull out the victory. This time, he made no mistake, maintaining top control and working in Ottow’s guard, trying to pass. However, Kunimoto was not able to find the finish despite many minutes spent with top control, and with about thirty seconds left, Ottow managed to reverse position and finish out the round on top, opening his opponent up in the process. It would go to the judges, with Ottow picking up a split decision win.

Zak Ottow def. Kiichi Kunimoto by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

John Moraga vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian

Moraga opened the second UFC Auckland Fox Sports 1 bout with a leg kick early.  Mokhtarian would look for a takedown, which would spur Moraga into looking for a guillotine. Moraga had it in tight, but Mokhtarian powered back to his feet while still in the choke. Back on the feet, you had to wonder how Moraga’s arms were feeling, but that didn’t dissuade him from landing a nice combo, taking his opponent down and looking for a rear-naked choke. Mokhtarian would escape and try for a leg lock, but Moraga escaped easily.

The second round saw Moraga continue to control the pace. About ninety seconds in, Moraga caught his opponent with a punch then launched a jump knee at him. While it didn’t land, it certainly showed how creative Moraga can be. Another exchange and a crisp left by Moraga would land clean on Mokhtarian, sending him stumbling backwards. With just under two minutes left in the round, Moraga was able to easily take the fight to the canvas and drop elbows on his opponent, then drop into side control. Mokhtarian wound up struggling not to give up mount or his back, with Morgara transitioning expertly throughout.

Moraga opened the third round using the fence to land a takedown. He then began to posture up and land bombs from the top. While Mokhtarian tried to defend, Moraga passed into side control again. He then pulled off a beautiful transition to latch on for an arm-bar, but Mokhtarian was able to scramble out of it. At the end of the sequence, Moraga was once again on top. Mokhtarian was active from the bottom, looking for escapes, but Moraga was clearly the more comfortable fighter on the ground. Posturing up, Moraga was able to land plenty of ground n’ pound, then try for an arm bar that actually allowed Moktarian to regain top position. With only ten seconds, however, it wouldn’t matter in the end.

John Moraga def. Ashkan Mokhtarian by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-27, 30-27)

Luke Jumeau vs. Dominque Steele

The third fight of the UFC prelims from Auckland featured welterweights Luke Jumeau and Dominque Steele. They exchanged early, with both fighter hitting home. A spinning backfist by Steele was blocked as both men looked to find an opening. Steele would then rush in, backing Jumeau up against the fence. Steele landed a good left, while Jumeau answered with a kick. Jumeau went to the body with his next kick, and Steele found himself retreating and circling out of range. With a minute to go, Steele was able to drag Jumeau to the canvas and land in side control, throwing a knee to the body. Elbows to the head followed.

Steele came out in the second taking the fight to Jumeau, throwing leather, kicks and pressing him against the cage. Jumeau would reverse, and work in some standing elbows. The pair would circle, with Jumeau going to the body then catching Steele behind the ear. Steele would cling to Jumeau with underhooks to buy himself time to recover. A good portion of the round then spent battling for control.

In the third, Steele came on strong while Jumeau looked to counter. After being tied up against the fence a little too long, the ref broke the pair of them and restarted the action. Jumeau then clipped Steele as he rushed in yet again, and followed it up with some heavy leather. Steele was dropped but back up, but clearly wobbled.  Steele would shoot to buy himself time to recover, then land some rights alongside the fence. Steele continued to work for the takedown, a dubious choice as he may have needed a finish. It would go to the buzzer.

Luke Jumeau def. Dominque Steele by unanimous decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Damien Brown vs. Vinc Pichel

Vinc Pichel was getting back to action after a three year absence thanks to injuries. Pichel landed early, with Brown answering after a feeling out period with a combo of his own. Brown looked to counter as Pichel brought the action, then Brown managed to press the action a little. Brown continued countering then following up with flurries of strikes. Pichel ducked down for a big upper cut with just over 90 seconds left. Beautiful, but didn’t land flush. The pair continued to stand and trade, then Pichel caught Brown coming in and dropped him! With that, UFC Auckland has its first stoppage!

Vinc Pichel def. Damien Brown by KO, Round 1, 3:37

For more UFC prelims action, be sure to check out our UFC Fight Night 110 Fight Pass Prelim coverage as well!

UFC Fight Night 110: Lewis vs. Hunt Fox Sports 1 Prelim Results:

Vinc Pichel def. Damien Brown by KO, Round 1, 3:37
Luke Jumeau def. Dominque Steele by unanimous decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
John Moraga def. Ashkan Mokhtarian by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-27, 30-27)
Zak Ottow def. Kiichi Kunimoto by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)