Mark Hunt has ended his eight year stint with the UFC with a disappointing loss.

The Kiwi heavyweight didn't quite get going at all throughout the bout, falling to American Justin Willis by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night in Adelaide.

Hunt – who appeared to hurt his right foot in the first round – stalked Willis with his right hand locked and loaded but never really pulled the trigger, with Willis using his reach and movement to frustrate the 44-year-old Kiwi.

After the fight, Willis, who won the fight in convincing fashion, graciously left the stage to Hunt to have his moment in his final fight for the organisation.


Hunt's speech was short and sweet in the end, even apologising for his performance.

"My apologies for the performance. Thank you for your support. To the Australian people and New Zealand people, thank you so much," he said to cheers from the Adelaide crowd.

"On behalf of myself and my family, for all the support, thank you UFC. I'll see you somewhere else."

Hunt will now move on to other ventures, and is still keen on continuing to fight. He told the Herald earlier in the week that he wants to fight five more times globally before retiring.

Justin Willis celebrates after his victory over Mark Hunt of New Zealand. Photo / Getty
Justin Willis celebrates after his victory over Mark Hunt of New Zealand. Photo / Getty

Earlier in the event, Kai Kara-France – one of the many fighters from New Zealand following in Hunt's footsteps – made a strong statement in his UFC debut with a dominant victory over Elias Garcia.

The Kiwi flyweight had to weather a few shaky moments but eventually pulled through to take a convincing unanimous decision win.

Garcia – a late replacement for Ashkan Mocktarian, who pulled out with injury – rushed out of the blocks and caused Kara-France some early trouble, landing a straight left that sent the 25-year-old Kiwi briefly to the canvas.

But Kara-France recovered quickly to finish the round on top, throwing down a barrage of strikes at Garcia just as the first round bell sounded.


After that, it was all Kara-France as he showcased a full arsenal of strikes, also impressing with his submission defence to win every round.

Kai Kara France of New Zealand celebrates after his victory over Elias Garcia. Photo / Getty
Kai Kara France of New Zealand celebrates after his victory over Elias Garcia. Photo / Getty

After the fight, Kara-France was sentimental about his dream debut, saying the result mirrored his long road to the big stage.

"I wanted to showcase that I'm a vet of this sport," he said. "I've had over 28 professional fights now and I haven't padded my way to get here. I had to take the hard route and it showed in this fight.

"A little bit of adversity but you know what we push through and we come on top."

MMA fans first caught a glimpse of Kara-France as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter in 2016 – the UFC's reality show which acts as a proving ground for up and coming talent – where he showcased his striking prowess and knockout ability.

Despite impressing on the show, Kara-France didn't receive a contract offer from the UFC, leaving him frustrated. But he finally got his opportunity this year and showed why he belongs in the sport's premier organisation.

An emotional Kara-France thanked the Aussie crowd and his supporters, which included UFC middleweight and Auckland City Kickboxing teammate Israel Adesanya who was in his corner for the fight.

"I'm speechless. I couldn't have asked for a [better] debut fight."

Former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos defeated Australian Tai Tuivasa in the main event, with a second round stoppage.