Montreal – It wasn’t pretty. Splitting open his opponent’s forehead with a flying elbow, Ali Nestor notched a KO victory over Tim Skidmore in UGC 26’s main event Friday night at the Metropolis. The fight, a rematch of Nestor’s 2007 TKO over Skidmore, marked a successful return to MMA after two and a half years away for the Canadian boxing champ. But it wasn’t without controversy.
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After a slow 1st round where Nestor and Skidmore mostly avoided each other, the action picked up in the 2nd, as Nestor began landing head punches with regularity.
Towards the end of the round, Nestor suddenly unleashed a flurry of elbows on a cornered Skidmore, at least two of which appeared to illegally strike the back of his head. Despite having a clear view of the action, referee Philippe Chartier chose not to penalize Nestor or otherwise intervene.
After a dazed Skidmore fell onto his back, Nestor leaped into the air, and drove a flying left elbow in a downward fashion (also illegal under the Unified Rules of MMA) into his grounded opponent’s forehead, resulting in a skull-deep slash. The referee put an end to the fight at 4:14 of round 2.
Though the flashy finish seemed to indicate a TKO win for Nestor, it was announced as a KO. Nestor’s MMA record improved to 7-5, with his win streak extended to six fights, all within the UGC.
After the stoppage, Skidmore quickly rose to his feet as blood poured onto his chest. The cut above his right eyebrow later required 14 stitches to close, and resulted in a 30-day medical suspension for the 39 year-old. After suffering his tenth consecutive loss, Skidmore’s record fell to 3-18.
Despite the controversial finish, the periodically quiet crowd of just under 300 fans cheered loudly, as Nestor was joined in the ring by a large group of students from his Ness Martial Arts Academy.
Speaking after the bout, Skidmore expressed no bitterness about the finish. On top of driving 12 hours from his native Nova Scotia for the fight, Skidmore also missed weight, and was fined 20 per cent of his purse.
In other action, Tapstar/Xtreme Couture Toronto‘s two representatives took a combined 90 seconds to finish their outmatched opponents, pleasing the approximately 50 supporters who’d made the trip up from Toronto.
Bantamweight Michael Imperato (2-0) sent Ness Martial Art’s Jonathan Bélair (1-1) on a short trip to defeat, taking only 34 seconds to sink in a rear-naked choke. Charging out of the gates as the fight started, Imperato quickly wobbled his opponent with a punch.
Utilizing a grappling career of over 90 fights, Imperato then landed a take-down, took full mount, transitioned effortlessly to Bélair’s back, and locked in the submission.
Earlier, teammate Misha Cirkunov (3-1) ground and pounded 10-year veteran Ricardeau Francois (14-10) for a TKO finish 56 seconds into the light-heavyweight battle.
Entering to LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” it was instead Francois who was quickly taken down after eating a few of Cirkunov’s punches. Quickly achieving a full mount, Cirkunov began raining down fists until the referee put a stop to the action. The win was the former Pan-American BJJ champion Cirkunov’s second 1st round finish since his only loss last June to Team Cesar Gracie fighter Roy Boughton.
In another match-up featuring unevenly matched fighters, Cory Macdonald (12-2) triangle choked Chris Vorano (3-8) at 2:12 of Round 1. The win was Macdonald’s seventh straight, dating back to late 2007. On the flip-side, the submission marked Vorano’s seventh straight defeat after going 3-1 in his first four fights.
In the only fight to go to the distance, Matthew Spisak evened his record at 2-2, taking a unanimous decision victory over Ben Guionnet (1-4) in a 160 pound catch-weight bout. Coming off his TKO loss to Yohan Gariépy last September at MFL 3, Guionnet appeared reluctant to engage in standing exchanges.
The fight was marked by the referee restarting the action a total of six times, as the fighters repeatedly became tied up near the ropes with little action. A kimura attempt in the first round, a take-down in the second, and an advantage in landed punches in the third resulted in the judges awarding Spisak the decision 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28.
Two boxing fights were also on the card, with all the evening’s fights taking place in a ring. Arash Usmanee gained a corner stoppage win against Isaac Bejarano at 1:40 of round 5, and Roody Pierre-Paul knocked out Mathias Tchikaya at 1:48 of Round 4. Pierre-Paul received the evening’s biggest pop from the crowd, after main eventer/promoter Ali Charles.
Check out Montreal MMA News’s other UGC 26 coverage:
– Quick fight results
– Weigh-in results/photos
– Post-fight Interview w/ Ali Nestor (w/ more UGC 26 pictures)
– Post-fight interview w/ Tim Skidmore (w/ more UGC 26 pictures)
– Post-fight interview w/ Misha Cirkunov (w/ more UGC 26 pictures)
– Post-fight interview w/ Michael Imperato (w/ more UGC 26 pictures)
– Pre-fight interview w/ Ali Nestor
– Pre-fight interview w/ Cory Macdonald