BRISBANE, Australia -- Mark Hunt (9-8-1) and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (18-5-1) clashed for 25 minutes on Saturday morning before settling for a majority draw in the headliner of this weekend's "UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Bigfoot" event in Australia.
With the crowd on its feet, the two exhausted and battered heavyweights fired punches into the final round of the fight, which ended in a majority draw -- 48-47 Hunt, 47-47 and 47-47 -- after judges could not determine a winner.
Hunt and Silva combined for 184 total significant strikes, according to a FightMetric report, the highest total in UFC heavyweight history.
UFC President Dana White took to Twitter and labelled the fight the "sickest heavyweight fight" he had ever seen, and awarded both men an additional $50,000 for the evening's "Fight of the Night" bonus.
Silva stayed at distance early, utilizing a front kick to keep space as Hunt looked to explode with punches. A flurry at the halfway point saw Silva get the best of the exchange, and Hunt hit the deck, but scrambled up before his opponent could take top position.
Silva got impatient as the second round wore on. A low kick buckled Hunt's left knee, and he was forced to switch stances to protect the joint.
Hunt limped a bit in the third, and Silva immediately kicked the leg again. Hunt buckled but pushed forward into a surprising takedown.
Silva grabbed the cage as he pulled up to the feet but received only a warning as they went back to work in the standup game. Hunt landed a few short right hands as he settled into his rhythm, and a big straight sent Silva crashing to the floor.
Hunt slipped inside for another surprising takedown in the fourth but Silva stayed active on his back and eventually crawled to his feet. Hunt tried for a trip but instead slipped to the floor and allowed Silva to take a dominant position.
Silva moved to mount with a little less than one minute remaining, and unleashed a flurry of massive shots, including an elbow that sliced his opponent's forehead open. Still, Hunt survived to the bell.
The pair touched gloves and offered a quick embrace to open the fifth round before throwing bombs. With blood streaming down both of their faces, the pair took turns exchanging in the centre of the cage.
Hunt landed a huge left hand that wobbled his massive foe but Silva stayed on his feet. Referee Steve Perceval brought in the doctor to take a look at a cut on Silva's head, but the physician let the fight carry on.
Neither athlete attended the evening's post-event press conference as they were each transported to a local hospital for precautionary observation.
Prior to the evening's co-main event, UFC President Dana White said a loss could spell the end of former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (22-8). But Rua knocked out James Te Huna (16-7) in the first round.
Te Huna leapt forward with a left hand that missed, and Rua answered with a crushing left counter to the chin that put his opponent out cold in just 64 seconds.
"I knew he could come aggressive, trying to strike, but I also expected him to come clinching and trying to wrestle me, so I was timing his engagements," Rua said through an interpreter. "When he was moving forward, I was timing his entrances so I could connect. I was happy that ended the bout."
Rua was awarded $50,000 for the evening's "Knockout of the Night" bonus.
Light heavyweight contender Ryan Bader turned in one of the most complete performances of his career, dominating Anthony Perosh for the entirety of their 15-minute affair.
"I learned from my last fight; this time around the game plan was to go out, be patient and get the win," Bader said. "For that reason, I've worked a lot on my cardio and speed, and it was nice to have that advantage for a fight that went the distance."
In a heavyweight affair, Soa Palelei (20-3) unleashed a flurry of ground-and-pound blows that scored flush and left opponent Pat Barry's (8-7) head bouncing off the canvas. The fight was waved off at the 2:09 mark of the first frame.
"Pat is a very dangerous striker, so it easily could have been me KOed today," Palelei said. "That's why I wanted to take the fight immediately to the ground and use my ground and pound. I've been working my Brazilian jiu-jitsu lots this camp. When I get on top, I'm not coming off you."
In a middleweight matchup of "The Ultimate Fighter 17" teammates, Clint Hester (9-3) was awarded a TKO win after opponent Dylan Andrews (17-5) was unable to answer the bell for the third round.
"Game plan going in to this fight was to keep it standing, look for openings and take advantage of them," Hester said. "I felt that was going to plan and disappointed we couldn't go into the third round."
In the night's first main-card matchup, Brazilian UFC newcomer Bethe Correia (7-0) earned a hard-fought decision win over longtime MMA veteran Julie Kedzie (16-13).
"I can't put into words how happy I am," she said after the win. "Julie was the favourite fighter, and I beat her. This win will have to put me up in the division."