by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
In a battle of two former UFC middleweights and grappling champions, Thales Leites got the best of Dean Lister with a unanimous decision win at MFC 23 on Friday night to get back on track after back-to-back losses sent him packing from the UFC.
Leites landed enough kicks and controlled top position as Lister once again put on a baffling performance, as he never pulled the trigger to do much of anything in the fight. With a world-class pedigree on the ground, Lister simply held on to Leites when the fight hit the ground, not presenting any kind of offense.
While neither fighter’s performance will likely garner much attention or headlines, Leites was able to put the fight where he wanted and grind out the decision win.
“I would like to ask for my next fight, I would like to fight for the belt,” Leites said after the win. “I’m not here for play, I’m here cause this is my profession, and I want the belt.”
Hometown favorite Jason MacDonald picked up a split decision win over former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor Solomon Hutcherson, after a scoring debacle originally announced the fight a draw. MacDonald went for several submissions and landed a few good reversals, while his opponent did manage a few takedowns, but did no real damage. Almost securing a couple rear naked chokes and other submissions, MacDonald seemed like a no-brainer for the win.
Instead, the judges decided neither fighter was the favorite as they scored the fight a draw. A displeased Canadian crowd voiced its opinion. Following the first round of the main event, HDNet commentators announced that there was a miscalculation on the scorecards and MacDonald was declared the rightful winner.
A lackluster fight between Ryan Jimmo and former MFC light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton resulted in a decision for Jimmo, who did just enough in the striking game to pick up the win. Following his title win in 2008, Newton has now lost three in a row, including his last two fights since moving to 185 pounds.
Bryan Baker made a statement with a strong performance over Art Santore. The former WEC middleweight battered and blasted his opponent en route to a three-round decision win. The victory is Baker’s fifth in a row while fighting for organizations like MFC and Bellator Fighting Championships.
Former UFC competitor Marvin Eastman dropped his third straight, and fourth in five attempts, as he was dropped by Dwayne Lewis with a stiff uppercut that brought about an abrupt end to their middleweight bout.
Jesse Juarez kicked off the show with a mix of groundwork and submission attempts to get the better of Joe Christopher via unanimous decision.