LEWISTON, Maine — Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia was anxious to get back home to Iowa to spend Father’s Day with his 17-month-old son Maverick.
So the Eastbrook native and two-time former UFC heavyweight champion wasted no time in winning his first mixed martial arts fight in his home state Saturday night.
The 6-foot-8, 265-pound Sylvia needed just 12 seconds of the first round to knock out Randy “The Wolf” Smith in the main event of the 16-bout Fight Night III card held before an estimated crowd of 3,000 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
“I can’t tell you how much it means to be able to fight back here in Maine,” said the 36-year-old Sylvia, just after accepting the congratulations of a gauntlet of fans upon leaving the cage. “It almost makes me cry just thinking about it.”
The much taller Sylvia came out and immediately landed a right hand to the body that backed up Smith, a ranked fighter regionally whose record dropped to 14-11-1. Sylvia pursued Smith to the side of the cage and connected with a right to the jaw that sent his opponent to the mat.
Sylvia then got on top of Smith and landed several right hands before the fight was stopped.
“I’ve trained 10 weeks for this fight,” said Sylvia, now 31-7 with 20 knockouts in his 13-year MMA career. “I just went out and executed my game plan.”
Yet Sylvia’s quick work wasn’t the shortest bout of the evening.
That honor went to Bruce Boyington of Brewer, who used two spinning leg kicks to knock out Keegan Hornstra of Farmington in 10 seconds of their 155-pound bout.
The 33-year-old Boyington, a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do, put those skills to use against Hornstra, first with a spinning kick to the ribs followed by a spinning kick to the lower right jaw and neck area that prompted an immediate end to the fight.
Boyington is now 2-2-1 as a pro, while Hornstra is 0-4.
“I expected that as soon as the bell rang he was coming at me,” said Boyington, a medical radiographer who trains out of Young’s MMA in Bangor.
“I hit him with a spinning back kick to slow him down, and he immediately came back forward so I said I was going to spin again, not to the middle this time but upstairs and hopefully it would connect. It did, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Boyington’s teammate at Young’s MMA, “The” Ryan Sanders of Brewer, bounced back from his first pro loss to Mike Winters at Fight Night II in April with a 170-pound tapout victory over Ray Shawdee of Lowell, Mass., at 0:53 of the second round.
Sanders (4-1) used a guillotine choke to force Shawdee (3-2) to submit.
“He was on top and trying to nullify me from moving, so he’s holding on tight,” said Sanders. “He kept his head right close to my body so I was able to create an open space by pushing his head away, and the second I got that space I shot my arm in and started working the choke.”
The sudden ending came after a close first five-minute round.
“I was definitely getting the better of him on standing,” said Sanders. “He took it to the ground, which I knew he eventually would do, but I was able to reverse him and get on top. He threw up a triangle choke that I was able to defend and from there it was a lot of scrambling back and forth.”
Two fighters based at Littlefield’s Gym in Oakland also were winners among the seven professional bouts on the card.
Josh Parker of Oakland (3-4) won the only fight of the night to go the full three rounds with a unanimous decision over Chris Ramos at 155 pounds. Parker used a strong finish to earn a 29-27 decision on all three judges’ scorecards.
Josh Bellows of Winslow made a successful pro debut at 170 pounds, knocking out Ryan Cowette at 46 seconds of the first round.
Windham native Jamie Harrison (3-1) knocked out Andrew Robertson of MMA of Southern Maine in 50 seconds of the first round at 155 pounds, while 135-pound Hassan Mahmood (1-0) of the New York-based Team Bombsquad used a rear naked choke to defeat Portland’s Ernie Ornelas (0-2) at 1:39 of the first round.
The nine amateur bouts featured a 145-pound clash between John “First Class” Raio of Topsham and Derek Shorey of Berwick, with the popular Raio (3-0) securing a tapout victory via guillotine choke at 22 seconds of the second round.
“I wanted to keep some space between us because he threw some good knees early on,” said Raio, who works as a mailman in Portland. “I was trying to avoid those kicks and we ended up tying up. A guillotine was something I’ve been getting better and better at and I knew I was going to throw it at some point if I could. He kind of put his neck out as I landed on the ground so I threw him into my guard and locked my legs and squeezed as hard as I could and he tapped and that was the end of it right there.”
This was a hard-fought contest through the end of the first round between the two former Maine high school wrestling champions, Raio at Gardiner Area High School in 1996 and Shorey at Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft in 2000.
“The kid’s a tough kid,” said Raio. “Had he not had to tap out it would have been a battle right to the finish.”
Among the other amateur bouts was a 130-pound women’s contest between Portland’s Maria Rios and Kylie Zehr of New York that ended with Rios using a rear naked choke to win by tapout at 1:24 of the first round.
“My plan of attack was to clinch with her, take her down and do damage,” said Rios.