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In this UFC handout image, Canadian Randa Markos punches Luana Pinheiro of Brazil in a strawweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX in Las Vegas on May 1, 2021.

Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Veteran Canadian strawweight Randa (Quiet Storm) Markos lost by disqualification Saturday after stunning Brazilian Luana Pinheiro with an illegal kick on a UFC Fight Night card.

The bout was called four minutes 16 seconds into the first round.

The controversial moment came after both fighters went to the ground. Markos, on her back, caught Pinheiro, who was on her knees, with an up-kick to the face. Referee Mark Smith immediately halted the fight with the stunned Brazilian on her back.

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The 35-year-old from Windsor, Ont., immediately held out her hand as an apology. Because the Brazilian was on her knees, she was considered a downed opponent and as such the kick was illegal.

The fight was the featured bout on the undercard prior to the main card at the UFC’s Apex production facility. The main event pitted Dominick (The Devastator) Reyes, ranked third among light-heavyweight contenders, against No 5 Jiri (Denisa) Prochazka of the Czech Republic.

Earlier on the undercard, Edmonton middleweight K.B. (The Bengal) Bhullar lost a 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 decision to Greece’s Andreas (Spartan) Michailidis.

The Markos-Pinheiro matchup was originally set for UFC 260 on March 27 but was rescheduled after Markos contracted COVID-19.

It marked the 17th UFC appearance for Markos (10-12-1). She has lost four straight and five of the last six, dropping her record in the UFC to 6-10-1.

Markos graduated to the UFC from Season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter after losing to future champion Rose (Thug) Namajunas in the semi-finals of the UFC’s long-running reality TV show.

The 28-year-old Pinheiro, favoured Saturday by the bookmakers, won her UFC contract in November with a first-round KO win on Dana White’s Contender Series. Pinheiro (9-1-0) has now won seven straight but may not remember this win.

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Markos came out punching but was flipped to the ground by Pinheiro, a black belt in judo. Markos got back up, only to be violently taken down again.

Markos took an accidental eye poke, prompting a visit by the ringside physician. The fight continued with Markos’ blessing and the Canadian came out swinging hard.

Then came the illegal kick, with a distraught Markos disqualified.

The UFC said Pinheiro was taken to hospital for “for precautionary reasons.”

Bhullar (8-2-0) lost his UFC debut in October on short notice as an injury replacement, stopped in the first round by England’s Tom Breese in Abu Dhabi.

Fighting up a weight class as a light-heavyweight, Michailidis (13-4-0) lost his UFC debut to Lithuania’s Modestas (The Baltic Gladiator) Bukauskas last July. The 32-year-old Michailidis had won seven of his previous eight fights prior to that loss.

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At six-foot-four, Bhullar had a four-inch height advantage and two-inch edge in reach over Michailidis, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. But the Greek came into the bout as the betting favourite and wasted little time showing he had more power in his fists.

Michailidis came out swinging, pushing the pace. And two minutes into the fight, he hurt Bhullar at the fence. Bhullar looked to keep Michailidis at bay with kicks but continued to take some shots. The round ended on the ground with Michailidis taking Bhullar’s back, looking for a submission.

The second round was stopped briefly when Michailidis took an inadvertent kick to the groin area. When action resumed, Bhullar targeted Michailidis’ legs with kicks. The powerful Greek kept swinging for the fences. Michailidis, busier with his strikes, caught Bhullar with a big right.

“You’ve got to take him out in this round,” Bhullar was told in his corner ahead of the final round.

Bhullar had no answers, however, in the face of Michailidis’ power. The Canadian, who got the nod from one of the three judges in the third, was warned for another accidental kick to the groin.

“I tried my best to knock this guy out, but he was tough. He took one of my best punches and survived,” said Michailidis. “I gave my best to finish him, but couldn’t.

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“I tried to get him to answer my punches, but he couldn’t. As soon as he felt my power, he ran away.”

The 29-year-old Bhullar was initially slated to fight on Dana White’s Contender Series last June. The pandemic pushed that back, first to September and then November, before he was given a UFC contract directly without having to appear on the feeder circuit.

Bhullar took time out from his MMA career after watching younger brother Kenny sustain severe facial damage in a 2014 amateur fight. K.B. went back to school and got a job in accounting. But at the behest of his brother, he returned to MMA in 2018.

Canadian featherweight T.J. (The Truth) Laramie was slated to fight Damon (The Leech) Jackson on the card but had to drop out due to injury.

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