The Pavillon de la Jeunesse crowd was treated to a relatively short night, with nine of the event’s 13 fights ending violently in the opening round.
The evening was headlined by a Welterweight bout pitting UFC hopeful Martin ‘the Hammer’ Grandmont (12-6), fresh off a KO win less than two months ago, against 40 year-old, 44 fight veteran Pete Spratt (24-21).
Cracking Grandmont for the second round TKO, Spratt scored what was likely his most emotional win yet. With his voice cracking post-fight, Spratt tearfully dedicated the win to his grandmother, who’d unexpectedly passed away the day before prior to the weigh-ins.
After a 12 year career that’s seen him move through over a dozen promotions, with seven stops in the UFC, and more recently a stint in the MFC, Spratt looked game throughout against his younger opponent.
Coming off his recent head kick finish, Grandmont hunted almost endlessly for a repeat, unsuccessfully throwing up his leg over a half a dozen times before the fight ended. Finding more success with his fists, the Hammer landed quite a few times, but never with enough power to finish.
After dropping Grandmont in the first round’s final seconds with a left hook, Spratt connected definitively with a pair of uppercuts and some brief ground-and-pound late in the second, prompting the finish at the 4:00 mark, much to the crowd’s chagrin.
A significant setback for Grandmont, who’s been public with his hopes of finally making the UFC. The TKO was only his second loss in his last nine fights.
In the co-main event, Colorado’s Brandon Thatch (6-1) impressed, scoring his fifth career first-round (T)KO, finishing France’s Patrick Vallée (7-2-1) in the evening’s shortest bout. Stunning him into survival mode with an early right uppercut, Thatch continued to hammer down as Valée attempted a single-leg takedown. Throwing him off quickly with right hands, the Grudge training Center Welterweight continued to hammer down to the head as Vallée turned faced down to the mat, prompting the ref to step in after only 15 seconds.
After missing by an astonishing nine pounds at the weigh-in, ‘Lightweight’ Ricky Goodall (8-4) took a split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) over Derek Gauthier (7-4). In an event punctuated by blink-and-miss bouts, this close battle turned into the clear cut Fight of the Night as the two warriors exchanged constantly on the feet in a technically sound fashion that had both bleeding from around an eye by the end. Beating Gauthier to the punch throughout much of the 15 minutes, Goodall utilized his simpler, short punch-centred striking style, with his jabs and crosses finding a home more often than Gauthier’s fancier mix of of side kicks, spinning back fists, and a superman punch attempt. Looking increasingly frustrated as the fight wore on, Gauthier was dropped briefly in the second round by a right cross, and generally couldn’t quite solve Goodall’s stand-up.
Scoring his second straight post-Zuffa win, four-time UFC vet Waylon Lowe (12-4) hammered the first blemish into Montreal Featherweight Tim Wadsworth‘s (5-1) record, KOing 2:51 into the opening round. After earlier dropping Wadsworth to a knee with a short right and defending a pair of takedowns from his fellow wrestler, Lowe connected more powerfully with an over-hand right, sending his opponent straight to the mat. The referee jumped in instantly to stop the fight, before Wadsworth shortly retook his feet in a wobbly state. The battle-hardened Lowe proved simply too much of a step up in competition for Wadsworth, who’s still never seen a second round, and hadn’t fought in over 18 months coming in.
Light-Heavyweight prospect Todd Stoute improving his perfect record to 4-0 with a cautious unanimous decision win (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) over Evan Nedd (3-3). Utilizing superior cardio, the 27 year-old Torontonian spent much of the fight circling Nedd, much to the Aruban’s irritation. Dropping in only occasionally with punches and a few exotic jumping roundhouse kicks, Stoute blocked most of Nedd’s charging offense, before landing mostly towards the end of each of the five minute stanzas. After dropping Nedd to a knee with a right cross in the first, Stoute came closest to finishing in the third, when an exhausted Nedd slipped while throwing a kick. Stoute hammered down with punches and a knee to the body, but Nedd made it back to his feet. Nedd made one last attempt to finish as time ran down, but was only able to connect with a left hook before the buzzer.
Crossing over from the role of veteran minor league hockey enforcer to MMA fighter, Heavyweight Joel Theriault (1-0) successfully followed in the footsteps of Steve Bossé by devastating the hapless Shawn Pauliuk (0-5) via second 21 second KO, earning himself the evening’s loudest pop from the appreciative crowd. After catching Pauliuk with a straight left counter early on, Theriault again caught him with a left as he charged in, quickly sending him crashing to the mat. Connecting with an extra left on the way down and another on the ground, the fight was quickly over. Speaking post-fight, the 35 year-old Theriault seemed optimistic he’d be back in the octagon at some point in the future.
In a Lightweight match-up, the Ottawa branch of the Lamarche family came out on top, with Stephane Lamarche (8-10) submitting crowd favourite Guillaume Lamarche (7-6) via guillotine choke 22 seconds into the third round. After being controlled on the ground for much of the fight’s first ten minutes, repeatedly fighting off Guillaume’s triangle, arm-bar, and extended rear-naked choke attempts, Stephane caught Guillaume as he came in early in the third. Ensnaring his head in a guillotine choke as he came in, Stephane took him to the ground and got the tap shortly after. The bout was Stephane’s first in almost three years.
Opening the main card with a relentless stream of powerful leg kicks, Aruban Heavyweight Guido Carlo (2-1) made short work of Anthony Alirez (2-1), finishing him by TKO at 1:05 of the first round. After knocking him off his feet with his seemingly umpteenth leg kick, Carlo swarmed in with head punches to finish Alirez, who’d dropped to a knee against the cage, unable to offer any real defense.
Setting the tone for the evening, the five-bout undercard saw every fight end in the first round.
Colorado Light-Heavyweight Anselmo Gutierrez (1-0) made a memorable debut against Stephane Pinet (1-3), who hadn’t seen in-cage action in over four years. Gutierrez welcomed the Cobra Kid back with a 38 second TKO.
Facing the far more experienced Bruce Nelson (23-34-1), Light-Heavyweight Sebastien Gauthier (6-2) did even better, delivering the TKO finish in only 30 seconds.
After exchanging heavily to open, Brad Morgan improved to 2-0 when a late slam in the round’s final 15 seconds earned him a TKO, as Christopher Boisvert (2-3) landed left arm first, and quickly notified the ref that he was injured. The bout officially ended at 4:55.
Kicking off his pro career, Bantamweight Frank Marques (1-0) choked out Maxime Fecteau (2-4) via guillotine 3:41 into the fight, handing ‘the Machine’ his third straight loss.
Also making a successful debut, Alexandre Gauthier (1-0) took only 40 seconds to TKO Ken Macleod (0-3), swarming him with hooks, an uppercut, and a knee to the body, before pounding out the finish on the mat.
I’ll be back in the coming days with my post-event notes.