Following a weeklong hiatus, the UFC hosted its first ever show in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - the Paris of the Prairies - with a fight card that included several intriguing names and exciting bouts. The event was also only the second UFC show in Canada this year, with the first taking place back in Montreal last April. However, despite that disappointing fact, the UFC was able to redeem themselves in the Great White North when they produced an entertaining show for the violence-starved crowd. Even though the main event ended in anti-climatic fashion, the UFC's first stopover in Saskatchewan was a fun one.
Patrick Cote survived several tough rounds against Josh Burkman before rallying back to become the first person to knock out the veteran fighter. Undoubtedly the ‘Fight of the Night,' Cote vs. Burkman satisfied the crowd in attendance, as they celebrated the Montreal-native's victory. Cote is now 2-1 over the past year, which is a healthy record for a fighter who debuted in the promotion back at UFC 67.
Francisco Trinaldo earned his fourth consecutive victory in the Octagon on Sunday when he defeated local prospect Laprise in the opening round. While the Brazilian began his UFC career with several stoppage wins, this finish snapped a streak of three straight decisions victories.
Frankie Perez, fresh off a first round victory on Sunday evening, decided to retire abruptly during his post-fight interview. It was a surprising decision, given that Perez is just 26 years old and held a 1-1 record in the UFC. The reason Perez made the winners column is simple: any fighter capable of walking away from the sport on a win deserves respect. MMA is a cruel sport that does fighters no favors as they continue their uphill battle against Father Time; kudos to Frankie for knowing this was not a path he wanted to take.
Nikita Krylov continues to weave a weird cult of personality around himself. Apart from his eccentricity, Krylov happens to be an excellent fighter, one who has only left the first round once in his professional career. Sunday night was not that time, as he defeated Marcos Rogerio de Lima via submission in the first round of their preliminary bout. Krylov, 19-4 professionally, has compiled a three-fight win streak over the past year and has proven to be a necessary staple for the UFC's international shows. Here is hoping that the UFC decides to harness his potential.
Misha Cirkunov is one of the rare light-heavyweight prospects that the UFC was able to find and sign to a contract. What was even more exciting was his quick KO victory in the curtain-jerker fight on the Saskatoon card, thus giving hardcore UFC fans something to be excited about in the latest stock of 205 pounders. The Latvian-Canadian showed his well-rounded game, as he tripped Daniel Jolly midway through the opening round, went for a submission but decided against it and finished the fight with a flurry of strikes instead.
Erick Silva looked terrible in his co-main event showing against Neil Magny. He landed less than a third of the shots that his opponent did and looked like a shadow of his former self, so much so that fans on social media began to speculate as to whether the Brazilian had been using performance-enhancing drug in the past. While that could be nothing more than speculation, Silva did look lethargic and incapable of handling Magny's offense. It is difficult to imagine much of a future for the once-touted welterweight now.
Michael Bisping took it upon himself to tarnish Frankie Perez's retirement by basically saying he does not have the courage to remain a fighter, which is why he retired. It was a disrespectful and classless comment to make during a broadcast (even if it was just on the FOX Sports 1 broadcast) and carried no basis in reality. Not only did Perez retire following a 54-second victory, he took the difficult decision to part ways with a sport he enjoys in favor of protecting himself for his family. That, Bisping, is another form of courage.
Chad Laprise suffered the first loss of his professional career in devastating fashion, as he pulled guard against Trinaldo only to have his head pounded repeatedly by the Brazilian. It was a significant setback for a fighter who was touted as one of the top prospects in Canada. However, he remains 3-1 in the UFC and it will be interesting to see how he rebounds from this loss.
Sam Stout went the majority of his professional career without a single TKO loss. In fact, he holds one of the most brutal TKOs in UFC history when he knocked out Yves Edwards several years ago. However, he has now lost his last three consecutive fights via TKO and it has become abundantly clear that he no longer has the chin to handle UFC competition. A staple in the Canadian contingency of UFC fighters, Stout may be able squeeze in another UFC fight, but he should strongly consider putting an end to his career and focusing on saving himself from brain damage.
Max Holloway won his fight in anti-climatic fashion when Charles Oliveira surrendered the main event with a shoulder injury. It was a disappointing conclusion to the night's action, and while Holloway improved his win streak to six consecutive fights, he did not earn a bonus and missed out on a potential Fight of the Night. Luckily, he remains a rising star at featherweight and will likely get another fight to boost his ranking and standing in the division.