John Makdessi yells at Abel Trujillo after their preliminary lightweight bout at the UFC Fight Night - Lawler vs Dos Anjos event in Winnipeg on Saturday, December 16, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Montreal lightweight John Makdessi scores upset UFC win

LAS VEGAS — Veteran Montreal lightweight John (The Bull) Makdessi won a split decision over Chile’s Ignacio Bahamondes on a UFC Fight Night card Saturday.

The judges scored the all-action bout 28-29, 29-28, 30-27 for Makdessi, who was the bookmakers’ underdog. The Canadian held a 124-112 in significant strikes, according to UFC Stats.

Makdessi (18-7-0) was taken to hospital after the fight “for precautionary reasons.”

It marked the 18th UFC fight for the 35-year-old Makdessi who made his debut with the promotion at UFC 124 in December 2010. He improved to 11-7-0 in the UFC.

The 23-year-old Bahamondes, who moved to the U.S. at 16 to pursue his fighting dream, was making his UFC debut after posting a November win in Dana White’s Contender Series. He had won seven of his previous eight fights.

At six foot three, Bahamondes (11-4-0) had a seven-inch height advantage over Makdessi who prepared for the fight at The MMA Lab and several other gyms in Arizona. Former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson was in his corner.

Bahamondes missed weight, tipping the scales at 156.75 — just over the 156-pound non-title limit for lightweights. He forfeited 20 per cent of his purse to Makdessi.

After a good start, Bahamondes was hurt midway through the round when Makdessi clipped him with a left to the head. Makdessi punished him at the fence with a powerful right, forcing Bahamondes to reach for a clinch. Makdessi kept coming, cutting Bahamondes under the right eye.

Makdessi scored with his jab as both fighters connected with strikes in the second round. Bahamondes also found his range, with Makdessi’s face showing damage.

Both fighters did damage in the third round, taking their lumps and punching back.

Makdessi had not fought since March 2020 when he lost by unanimous decision to Francisco Trinaldo. He subsequently underwent knee surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament.

The main event at the UFC’s Apex production facility saw Marvin (The Italian Dream) Vettori, ranked No. 6 among UFC middleweight contenders, take on No. 10 Kevin (Trailblazer) Holland.

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