Canadian Tanner (The Bulldozer) Boser took a beating in his UFC light-heavyweight debut Saturday night, stopped in the first round by Moldova’s Ion (The Hulk) Cutelaba.
Boser went 4-4-0 as a heavyweight in the UFC before deciding to drop to 205 pounds to face Cutelaba. The 31-year-old from Bonnyville, Alta., who now makes his home in Edmonton, weighed in at 229 pounds for his last heavyweight outing, a split decision loss to 261-pound Brazilian Rodrigo Nascimento.
Boser weighed in at 203 pounds for this fight, compared to 206 for Cutelaba who was at the light-heavyweight non-title limit.
The 29-year-old Cutelaba (17-9-1 with one no contest) snapped a three-fight losing streak with his third first-round finish and sixth victory in the UFC. He had won just one of his seven previous bouts (1-5-1) but faced elite opposition against the likes of Glover Teixeira, Jared (The Killa Gorilla) Cannonier, Johnny Walker and Magomed Ankalaev.
Boser (20-10-1) suffered his second straight loss and fourth in his last five outings.
Former featherweight champion Max (Blessed) Holloway, ranked second among 145-pound contenders, won a unanimous division over No. 4 Arnold (Almighty) Allen of England In the main event at the T-Mobile Center.
A lean-looking Boser had trouble absorbing Cutelaba’s power from the get-go. Cutelaba sent Boser backwards with a powerful overhand right to the chin, some 90 seconds into the bout. Boser went down to one knee and when he got back up, ate one blow after another.
Cutelaba took him down and, as Boser tried to get back up at the fence, connected with almost 20 strikes to the head until referee Keith Peterson stepped in to end the punishment at two minutes five seconds.
“I am brutal. I am very brutal,” Cutelaba said in English.
Cutelaba had a 30-5 edge in significant strikes over Boser, according to UFC Stats.
“I’m very sorry to my coaches, training partners, fans, and country. I let everybody down and I know that,” Boser said on social media.
He then noted he had one fight left on his UFC contract, asking UFC president Dana White and matchmaker Mick Maynard to let him fulfil it on June 10 in Vancouver.
A change in weight class worked for fellow Canadian Gillian (The Savage) Robertson.
The five-foot-five Robertson, whose previous 13 UFC fights were at flyweight (125 pounds), submitted previously unbeaten Venezuelan strawweight Piera (La Fiera) Rodriguez in a lopsided contest at 115 pounds.
“This feels like my new home,” Robertson said. “I’m ready for someone ranked next.”
Robertson a submission specialist who competed at strawweight earlier in her career, pulled guard to get Rodriguez (9-1-0) to the ground in the first round, then moved on top of her opponent. The Venezuelan was cut on the forehead.
Robertson dumped Rodriguez with a single-leg takedown 10 seconds into the second round, improving her position to three-quarter mount and looking to isolate an arm. Robertson bloodied Rodriguez’s face with punches then, from full mount, transitioned smoothly to an armbar with Peterson stepping in to end the fight at 4:21 of the second round.
Rodriguez insisted she didn’t tap. But she seemed to have made a tapping motion and the decision, when announced, cited a “verbal tap due to armbar.”
Robertson said she had no idea if her opponent had tapped, but said she stopped when the referee pulled her off.
Robertson (12-7-0) was coming off a second-round submission win over Kazakhstan’s Mariya (Demonslayer) Agapova in September.
The 27-year-old native of Niagara Falls, Ont., who makes her home in Port Saint Lucie, Fla., improved to 9-5-0 in the UFC.
The Canadian Press