Canadians score big on UFC 124 undercard

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:20 AM ET

MONTREAL — Canadian fighters won three of their six undercard fights at UFC 124.

In the final preliminary contest, Joe (El Dirte) Doerksen lost a close split-decision to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black-belt Dan Miller.

Miller (13-4) was able to take the Winnipeg native to the mat at will throughout the three-round fight. However, Doerksen (46-14) remained the busier of the two on the mat, threatening with a kimura in the second round and cutting Miller open with an elbow.

Toronto’s Mark Bocek gave the fans in the Bell Centre something to cheer about as he submitted Dustin (McLovin’) Hazelett with a slick triangle choke in the first round.

Following the bout, Bocek (9-3) called out submission wizard George Sotiropoulos for the UFC’s Toronto debut April 30.

“Let me start out by saying Dustin Hazelett is a really tough guy,” Bocek said. “I’ve been quiet way too long.

I have been the best jiu-jitsu in the lightweight division, and I want to prove it by fighting George Sotiropoulos in Toronto.”

In a very weird bit of judging confusion, Jesse (Water) Bongfeldt of Ontario and Rafael (Sapo) Natal went to a majority draw, with initial scores of 30-30 across the board. This would have been impossible, of course, since a majority means only two judges scored it a draw.

However, that was later corrected with two scoring it 28-28, and one giving the fight to Natal (12-3-1) 29-28.

Natal looked good in the first two rounds, taking Bongfeldt’s (21-7-1) back to go up 20-18 on all three scorecards. However, Bongfeldt came alive in the third, punishing Natal enough to convince judges Salvatore D’Amato and Tony Weeks to score it 10-8 in his favour to tie the contest.

Toronto’s Sean Pierson won a unanimous decision over Matthew Riddle in a wild slug-fest.

Pierson (11-4) dropped Riddle (5-2) early in the fight after landing a counter punch off a flying knee attempt. As the fight progressed, Riddle turned up the heat but mostly threw wild looping shots that didn’t land clean. Pierson’s sharp counter-striking was enough to convince the judges to award him every round.

“It was great to be in there exchanging punches with Matt,” Pierson said. “He’s very resilient, but I felt like I had the decision. The crowd was amazing. “This was 14 years in the making.

“I’m extremely proud and happy to be in the UFC.”

Ricardo (Big Dog) Almeida dominated Nova Scotia’s T.J. Grant for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory.

Almeida (13-4) was able to take Grant (16-5) down with ease and control much of the fight. Almeida secured Grant’s back multiple times but was unable to put him away with a submission.

“I would’ve liked to get the finish, but he was a hard guy to control,” Almeida said. “But I was happy with my positioning in the fight. Usually, the fighter on top will win the decision, so I did my best to get in dominant positions and do damage.

Georges St-Pierre training partner and Laval, Quebec, native John (The Bull) Makdessi got things off to a good start for Canadian fighters, earning an impressive unanimous decision over Pat (Awesomely Awesome) Audinwood.

Makdessi (8-0) was able to keep the fight standing and utilized a diverse arsenal of striking to out-class Audinwood (9-2-1) for 15 minutes.

“My strategy was to kick his legs,” Makdessi said. “He was fighting me outside-in, trying to use his reach. I thought he’d be the aggressor, and I thought he’d engage more, but he did what he had to do.

“I was trying to finish the fight, but he kept his distance from me. I feel very blessed and honoured to be a part of the UFC.”


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