It was a much-anticipated bout, and the faces of the two fighters headlined all the promotional posters leading up to the fight.
But, the One Fighting Championship (One FC) middleweight world championship bout last night at the Singapore Indoor Stadium between Leandro Ataides and Igor Svirid ended in a flash.
All of 17 seconds, to be exact.
Ataides, a Brazilian who has called Singapore his home for the past six months, slipped while backing away from a punch, soon after the first of five rounds started in the final bout in the Battle of Lions event.
Sensing blood, Svirid, a Kazakh national, went in for the kill and rained punches on the home favourite, even as he briefly regained his balance.
Ataides went down on his knees, and then flat on his stomach, as Svirid threw three more punches before the referee stopped the bout, and the 1.83m-tall fighter wheeled away to celebrate his quick victory.
Ataides still looked stunned as he settled down in a chair in the ring when the referee declared Svirid the victor, the quickest among the 10 bouts last night.
Still looking visibly upset some 15 minutes after his fight, Ataides said: "This is the most disappointing fight in my life. This happens in a fight... when I slipped I wasn't sure if I could recover or not. It happened too quickly."
Separately, Svirid said: "When he slipped, I knew the belt was mine. I was very confident when that happened."
Nicknamed the "Lionheart", Svirid did not have a game plan going into the fight, except to avoid getting into a grapple with his physically bigger opponent.
"I don't think luck has anything to do with my win," he said, when asked about Ataides' slip.
"I train very hard, and I am just very happy that the belt is mine now.
"I will go back to Kazakhstan and celebrate with my people."
The 10,000-strong crowd chanted for a rematch, as Svirid was presented the belt, and the new world champion is not afraid to face his vanquished opponent again.
"The crowd didn't affect me at all. I just came here to win the belt, and I did it.
"I am always ready for a rematch. Any time," said Svirid.
Ataides, meanwhile, vows to bounce back, soon and stronger.
"I am so sorry for my fans, my friends and my students tonight," said the Brazilian, who is also an instructor at the Evolve MMA gym in Singapore.
"I will never stop training, I will now train 10 times as hard and I will be back.
"I will take his belt. This belt has to stay in Singapore."
This article was first published on Nov 08, 2014.
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