Canadians and underdogs dominated the undercard of UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.
Canucks went a combined 3-0 while only one favourite walked out of the cage victorious.
Here is a recap of the seven undercard battles.
Charlie Brenneman vs. Kyle Noke
It took Noke no time at all to announce his presence in the welterweight division. The Australian landed a stiff left jab square on the button causing Brenneman’s legs to go out underneath him.
Noke continued to rain down blows once on the mat until referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in for the stoppage despite a protest from Brenneman.
Noke def. Brenneman via TKO (punches) :45 into the first round.
Mitch Gagnon vs. Walel Watson
Sudbury’s Mitch Gagnon rewarded the crowd for their cheers by dropping Watson early with a left hook after “The Gazelle” left his chin unprotected while throwing a front kick.
Gagnon wouldn’t give him any time to recover following him to the mat and forcing a tap out via rear-naked choke at the 1:09 mark of the first round.
Gagnon def. Watson via submission (rear-naked choke) 1:09 into the first round.
Seth Baczynski vs. Simeon Thoresen
Both fighters went through a feeling out process to get started.
After some solid back-and-forth action Baczynski accidently poked Thoresen in the eye causing a brief delay.
Not long after they continued fighting Thoresen threw a right hook and got caught by a thunderous left hook by Baczynski leaving him unconscious face first in the mat.
Baczynski def. Thoresen via knockout 4:10 into the first round.
Marcus Brimage vs. Jimy Hettes
Brimage came out throwing heavy power shots with his left hook seemingly finding Hettes’ chin every time he threw it.
He dropped Hettes and looked to finish on the ground but he almost got caught in a triangle choke so he decided to quickly return the fight to his feet for more stand up.
His striking was enough to win the round as the crowd erupted in cheers following the action packed first five minutes.
In the second round, Hettes finally landed a take down and sunk in a body triangle after taking Brimage’s back. He controlled on the mat for a couple of minutes but failed to secure a fight ending submission.
It was enough to win him the round and send it into the third and deciding round evened up.
Both fighters came out exhausted in the third, Hettes barely able to keep his hands up let alone throw punches. Brimage lands the only real clean shots and successfully stuffs Hettes takedown attempts to win the fight 29-28 on my scorecard.
Brimage def. Hettes via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Lance Benoist vs. Sean Pierson
Pierson’s second time fighting in front of his hometown fans went much better than last April when he suffered a first round knockout loss.
The Toronto native outworked Benoist in the stand up in the first round and put him on his butt at one point. Benoist threated off his back with armbar attempts but was unable to ever lock it up.
It was more even in the second but Pierson still did enough in the striking department to led 20-18 headed into the third on this scorecard.
The final frame was rather unspectacular until Benoist landed a big punch that stunned Pierson in the final and set him backpedalling against the cage.
With his opponent hurt he swarmed to try and finish the Canadian with ground and pound but much to the delight of the crowd he survived until the final bell.
Pierson def. Benoist via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Evan Dunham vs. TJ Grant
Grant entered looking to make Canadians 3-0 on the night. He controlled the Octagon early and was finding the mark with his punches and kicks in the opening round.
A last minute take down might have been enough to steal the round for Dunham but he didn’t do any damage while on top following it.
Dunham was busted open in the second as he once again was losing the striking exchanges but managed to land another late take down.
In the third, Dunham fought like a man down two rounds and started opening up in his striking attack by incorporated some head-kicks into his arsenal.
It swayed the momentum and his third straight takedown earned him the round but it wasn’t enough to overcome his slow start.
Grant def. Dunham via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28).
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Igor Pokrajac
Not a lot of action in the first five minutes other than a Magalhaes armbar attempt, enough to win him the round but not a lot of fans in the crowd.
More of the same in the second except this time Magalhaes locked in the armbar and forced the tapout.
Vinny Magalhaes def. Igor Pokrajac via submission (armbar) 1:14 into second round.