Brisbane, Australia (4E Sports) – The heavyweight showdown between Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva in the main event of UFC Fight Night 33 ended in a majority draw Friday at Brisbane Entertainment Centre but it could be one of the candidates for fight of the year.
Judge Charlie Keech scored the contest for Hunt, 48-47. Judges Kon Paapaioannou and Barry Foley saw it 47-47.
“I’m so happy,” said Silva, who had trained with Hunt in the past. “Mark is a tough guy. I trained a lot for this fight.”
UFC president Dana White said he’s happy with the draw because the winner of the fight was the fans.
Silva (18-5-1) used his size advantage early to keep Hunt (9-8-1) at bay, landing side kicks to his opponent’s midsection while circling away from his knockout power.
A brief exchange in the first round saw Silva knock Hunt down with a right hand, but Hunt recovered quickly.
After Silva dominated the next two rounds, Hunt came back strong in the last two rounds to force the draw.
Hunt finished the year with a 1-1-1 mark in three appearances. He suffered a knockout loss to Junior dos Santos at UFC 160 in May.
Silva also finished 2013 with a 1-1-1 record. Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez defended his belt against the Brazilian in May via first-round TKO.
Meanwhile, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua debunked retirement rumors as he made a triumphant return to the Octagon with a first-round knockout of James Te Huna.
Rua (22-8), a former UFC champion, knocked out James Te Huna with a perfect counter left hook just 63 seconds into their light heavyweight fight, snapping a two-fight losing streak for the former UFC champion.
Rua hit Te Huna (16-7) with a leg kick on the outside, a right hand to the body and nearly threw him to the ground when they tied up during an exchange.
In other fights, Ryan Bader defeated Anthony Perosh, Soa Palelei knocked out Pat Barry in the first round, Clint Hester beat Dylan Andrews and Bethe Correia edged Julie Kedzie.