Hermansson, who solidly won a three-round striking battle, came right back with a “f*** you,” prompting officials to high-tail it into the octagon as bouncers. Curtis’ Xtreme Couture teammates almost held him back from the official announcement, a 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 slate for Hermansson, and he still gave a thumbs down.
The last exchange was the most heated part of an otherwise pedestrian kickboxing affair. Stepping in on short notice for the injured Darren Till, Curtis didn’t get out of first gear until the third round, when Hermansson had built a solid lead using his superior height and reach. The Swede used body kicks and takedown attempts to keep Curtis off-balance, and he evaded firefights when his American opponent turned up the tempo.
That’s likely why Curtis lost his patience in the third, when he did his best work of the fight after getting wobbled by a head kick in the second. As Curtis started to ramp up, Hermansson continued to deny him the chance to land big shots and snuck in more body kicks. An opportunity to cut the line on Hermansson, the No. 12 ranked middleweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, turned into an overseas bust for Curtis, who won his first three UFC fights. Curtis made clear his displeasure with Hermansson’s approach.
Hermansson, meanwhile, bounced back after a split call loss to Sean Strickland in the headliner of UFC Vegas 47. He has bounced between wins and losses in his past seven fights, and apologized for the fiery post-fight display.
“He was taunting me, and a frog jumped out of my mouth,” Hermansson said.