Two crowd favorites, and quick ends were the hallmark of the first two fights on the main card. Dan Hooker and Chris Gutierrez won with wins.
As Hooker strutted into the arena waving his hands slowly, the crowd erupted — a stark contrast from the faint cheers Claudio Puelles received just moments before.
Hooker’s crowd advantage was ignited inadvertently by Puelles’s fighting strategy, which seemed to be to get Hooker to the ground at all costs. Hooker stood at times throughout the fight while Puelles lay on his back, while the crowd cheered. The fight was finally over when Hooker scored a kick in the middle of the fight that crumpled Puelles.
“Any man walking this earth can get it!” Hooker spoke in the post-fight interview, before he kissed Joe Rogan.
Hooker had lost four of the last fights he was in, with his last two losses coming in the first round. Hooker was among four New Zealanders who fought on Saturday, along with Brad Riddell and Carlos Ulberg. They all train under the same coach Eugene Bareman, City Kickboxing gym.
Hooker’s supporters cheered even louder, while Hooker’s fans cheered for Frankie Edgar. Frankie Edgar said Saturday night was his last mixed-martial arts fight. The crowd booed Edgar’s opponent, Chris Gutierrez.
But the cheers for Edgar didn’t prove fruitful as Edgar walked into a ferocious knee from Gutierrez just as fans began a “Let’s go Freddie” chant.
The win was Gutierrez’s fourth straight. Edgar hugged Edgar and spoke with him for a while after the fight was over. While Edgar’s mixed martial arts career is over, he said last week that he would be willing to jump in the boxing ring with a popular fighter, like Manny Pacquiao, for an exhibition match.