Two of the hardest hitting men in the UFC heavyweight division went at it last night in the main event of #UFCAuckland as Derrick Lewis took local hero, Mark Hunt.
Hunt had no shortage of problems with the UFC heading into the Octagon, but he started well and took the centre of the cage pushing "The Black Beast" back . The pattern continued for much of the first round as Hunt looked for an opening, but Lewis kept composed and threatened with a wide array of leg kicks and head kicks.
Both Hunt and Lewis were throwing some fearsome shots, but neither were finding their mark as both kept their range well on the outside.
Lewis opened up round two with a big head kick attempt and he then found a home with a right hand and a switch knee to the midsection. Hunt ate them well and fired back with leg kicks, but the round was soon paused for an inadvertent eye poke to Hunt. After a short break, the fight resumed and Lewis settled back into his stride well with a nice right hand.
Midway through the second, Lewis looked to taking over, but Hunt then landed and elbow that visibly stunned his man and he poured on the pressure. Lewis recovered well and landed his own counter hook as Hunt poured forward, but before the round was up, he ate another big left hand from the Aussie.
Both men looked tired coming out in round three, but Lewis has seemingly recovered from the heavy blows he took in the second. The Black Beast looked to land a pair of huge uppercuts early on, but Hunt evaded them well and moved his head off the centre line. Hunt was really starting to look the fresher of the two fighters as he continued to push Lewis backpedalling into the cage with his hands down. Lewis made it out the round without getting caught by anything heavy, but he sank back onto his stool with his gas tank seemingly empty.
The championship rounds began much the way the third round did with Hunt pressuring Lewis back into the cage. Hunt found a home for a pair of right hands, but Lewis shook his head and continued to circle left round the cage. With one minute 30-seconds left on the clock, Hunt rocked Lewis again and this time it was the beginning of the end.
Hunt went in for the kill as Lewis covered up with his back to the cage. Hunt fired in elbows, uppercuts and hooks and with Lewis not showing signs of improving his position, referee Marc Goddard stopped the fight at 3 minutes and 51-seconds of the fourth round.
It was an incredible performance by Hunt who speaking afterwards heaped praise on Lewis and thanked the fans for turning up in great numbers.
In a shock announcement, Lewis announced his retirement stating: "This is probably my last fight, I'm getting married next week and I can't put my family through this."
It was a shocking end to what was a thrilling fight.