The UFC Auckland main event was a drawn-out fun battle with many exciting exchanges, and Mark Hunt emerged the victor.
The UFC Auckland main event kicked off with a snap kick to the gut of Mark Hunt. Derrick Lewis also threw a left kick to the body. Early on it seems to be a kick-first offense from Lewis. A few leg kicks thud off the thigh of Hunt, then he comes in and swarms Lewis with a trio of punches.
Lewis kept flaring head kicks, and an overhand landed for Hunt. Hunt’s footwork was seemingly on point early on, as Lewis was forced to skirt along the fence, even backing himself into the fence at times. A takedown attempt from Lewis failed but he landed a clean uppercut down the middle.
Hunt continued to pressure with explosive combinations and great cage-cutting. Lewis fired back with a one-two. Hunt landed an elbow over the top and missed a combination, and Lewis attempted a flying knee that missed. Lewis blitzed forward with head kicks after a missed combination from Hunt and the round came to a close.
Lewis started round two with a body kick and Hunt went to a leg kick to answer. Hunt charged in and was accidentally poked in the eye by Lewis. After action resumed, Lewis went back to his head kicks, even throwing a switch kick.
Mark Hunt pushed forward and landed a hook that stunned Lewis. Lewis began to skirt along the cage quicker and Hunt chased him down to land more bombs. Lewis tried to wrap Hunt up but was unsuccessful. Hunt continued to pressure and Lewis began firing back. The heavyweights swung for the fences to the bell.
Lewis and Hunt clashed again in the third round. Lewis abandoned his kicking strategy and chose to exchange with Hunt with the hands. Lewis had the front foot early and landed a number of punches and a body knee. Hunt regained Octagon control and Lewis seemed to tire out.
Hunt began to dig to the body and Lewis slowed even more. Hunt continued to push forward and all Lewis could do was survive. He missed several takedown attempts that didn’t come close, and Hunt kept the pressure on to the bell.
Derrick Lewis went straight to the fence in the fourth round, still visibly exhausted. Hunt landed a leg kick and went to the body as well. There were a few times where Lewis simply stopped and Hunt was able to unload. Lewis ran out of the energy to even skirt the fence, and Hunt capitalized on this opportunity to put an end to the fight.
Hunt unloaded and Lewis tried to fire back with a knee but missed with a follow-up right. Hunt fired back and Lewis simply could not last. He keeled over and Marc Goddard called a stop to the fight. It was an odd stoppage since Lewis never went down, but he did nod to Goddard as he slumped to the canvas post-stoppage.
Retirement was a popular topic in the post-fight interviews. Mark Hunt stated that he’d like to fight someone above him in the rankings, but if this was his last UFC fight, he’d be satisfied since it was in his home country of New Zealand. Derrick Lewis stated that his lower back was giving him issues, that he’s getting married next week, and that he doesn’t want to put his family through that anymore. He concluded by saying this may have been his last fight in the UFC.