ENOCH, Alta. -- Brazilian middleweight Thales Leites won a unanimous decision over Dean (The Boogeyman) Lister in a dreary main event at MFC 23 on Friday night.
Leites dominated a dull fight at the River Cree Resort and Casino in which Lister showed little, with the judges scoring it 30-27 for the Brazilian on all three scorecards.
The two former UFC fighters were both making their MFC debut.
In the co-main event, middleweight Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald of Red Deer, Alta., won a split decision over (King) Solomon Hutcherson. The fight was initially declared a draw, with the scores announced as 28-28, 29-28 for Hutcherson and 29-28 for MacDonald, who looked bemused at the decision.
The 28-28 turned out to be a 29-28 for MacDonald.
The results may set up a clash for the vacant MFC 185-pound title between MacDonald and Leites.
Leites (15-3) was cut by the UFC after losing a close split decision to Alessio Sakara at UFC 101 in August. Prior to that, he lost a five-round decision to middleweight champion Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 97 in April in Montreal.
Lister (11-7) had not fought since losing to Yushin Okami at UFC 92 in December 2008.
Lister failed on an early takedown and spent part of the first round on the mat, with Leites unable to take advantage.
The Brazilian controlled the fight, connecting with kicks and fighting off Lister's takedown attempts. Lister, who was cut in the third round, spent much of the bout hanging onto Leites' leg like a limpet.
MacDonald (22-13) dominated a fight contested mostly on the ground, with the judge who sided with Hutcherson evidently rewarding his submission defence over MacDonald's ground offence.
Hutcherson came out aggressively but MacDonald immediately took him down and tried for a triangle choke. MacDonald forced him to the ground later with a single-leg takedown.
Hutcherson reversed position but MacDonald managed to put his opponent in a body lock and take his back. Hutcherson had to fight off two chokes and an armbar before the round ended.
The fight returned to the ground in the second with Hutcherson on top and MacDonald trying for a submission. MacDonald flipped Hutcherson again, going for the choke and a body triangle, but Hutcherson showed good defence, fighting off an arm triangle attempt in the round's final seconds.
Hutcherson elected to go to the ground with MacDonald early in the third and found himself on the bottom. Hutcherson reversed position and delivered some elbows.
With two minutes left, Hutcherson returned to his feet and was staggered by an overhand right. MacDonald tried for one more takedown and the two finished the fight on the ground.
The 34-year-old MacDonald badly needed a win after losing his last three fights and four of the last five. He was beaten by Travis Lutter last time out at MFC 22 in October, after being cut by the UFC, where he had a record of 5-5.
The 37-year-old Hutcherson (11-6) is a graduate of Season 4 of "The Ultimate Fighter."
Meanwhile, Halifax's Ryan (The Big Deal) Jimmo claimed his 12th straight victory with a decision over former MFC light-heavyweight champion Emanuel (The Hardcore Kid) Newton.
"He's a tough guy. I don't think too many people can finish him," said Jimmo.
Newton (12-6-1) scored two takedowns but Jimmo got right back up each time.
"He put me on the ground but he couldn't keep me there," said Jimmo.
The fight was contested mainly in the clinch, doing little for the entertainment value as Jimmo (12-1) used his strength to control Newton up close. Newton has now been beaten in his last three outings, including a title loss to Trevor Prangley at MFC 21 in May.
Light-heavyweight Dwayne Lewis of Fort McMurray, Alta., knocked out veteran Marvin (The Beastman) Eastman with a pair of vicious uppercuts at 4:58 of the first round.
Lewis (10-4) got a talking to from the referee after the win for failing to stop punching when so ordered. The 38-year-old Eastman (17-12) suffered his fifth loss in his last six fights, although his loss by decision to Jimmo at MFC 22 was debatable.
Middleweight Bryan (The Beast) Baker won a unanimous decision over 37-year-old Art Santore, whose face was a mask of blood after the first round.
"He came here to fight," Baker said after carving open Santore.
Santore (18-7) and the 24-year-old Baker (12-1) had each won four straight coming into the fight.
In a bizarre beginning to a heavyweight bout, Ryan Fortin appeared to turn his ankle while dancing around the ring before the fight. He did fight, losing by rear naked choke to Nick Penner.