MONTREAL -- Jonathan (The Road Warrior) Goulet walked out of the Octagon last night with his right eye swollen nearly shut and a place in the history books.
The Montreal brawler became the first Canadian to win a UFC fight on home soil following a second round TKO win over Japanese fighter Kuniyoshi Hironaka.
Goulet pushed the pace early but was caught with a right cross that brought him to the mat as the first round drew to a close. A refocused Goulet dropped Hironaka twice before the ref stepped in to stop the fight.
When the lights dimmed, ring announcer Bruce Buffer opened the show with a well-received 'Madames and Monsiuers. Bon Soir.'
The crowd, forecast to be the sport's loudest, didn't disappoint and responded with thunderous cheers.
And the decibel count jumped again when Goulet made his entrance to a French rap song wearing a Montreal Canadiens jersey.
The crowd rose and fell with Goulet's action in the Octagon.
UFC 83 featured a main event between Montreal's Georges St. Pierre and New Yorker Matt Serra for the welterweight belt.
That bout was not over at press time, but a shot on the big screens of St. Pierre arriving at the arena caused the crowd to erupt.
The 22,000 live spectators made UFC 83 the largest mixed-martial-arts event to take place in North America.
It was also the fight club's fastest sellout and created a third record with more than 1,000 bars across the country licensed to show the event -- surpassing the previous Canadian benchmark of 937 for the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson title fight six years ago.
The UFC took more than $5 million from the live gate and will make a much bigger haul from pay-per-view buys.
London's Sam (Hands of Stone) Stout was the second Canadian to take to the cage, and the large Ontario contingent erupted into shouts of 'Stout, Stout..'
The 23-year-old standup specialist was pitted against ground expert Rich (No Love) Clementi, who dominated Stout for much of the fight though the young Canadian snaked his way out of at least three serious submission attempts.
Clementi walked away with a split-decision victory.
In a lopsided heavyweight affair, Cain Velsquez pummelled Brad Morris with some devastating ground-and-pound before the ref put an end to Morris' suffering halfway through the first round.
There has been a buzz surrounding UFC 83 in the days leading up to the fight.
Fans crowded the steps of the hotel near the Bell Centre, where many of the fighters were staying, seeking pictures and autographs.
Three hours before the doors opened, a line of more than 2,000 made its way around the Bell Centre even though the event had assigned seating.
With chants of 'GSP' and a cautious police guard making the rounds, Ottawa's Kelly Duval braved the line wearing a Matt Serra shirt.
"What can I say? He's a guy I can relate to," said Duval.
"But being a Canadian, I'm really torn because I feel an obligation to be a bit more patriotic."