10/27/2012 02:12 EDT | Updated 12/26/2012 05:12 EST

Mutapcic wins middleweight title at MFC 35 with third-round stoppage

EDMONTON - Elvis Mutapcic won the vacant middleweight title by defeating Joseph Henle in the third round on Friday at Maximum Fighting Championship 35.

Mutapcic came out quickly, winning the first after he knocked Henle to the canvas with a right late in the round. Henle regrouped in the second and began to control the pace of the fight by keeping his distance and outstriking Mutapcic.

However, in the third, Mutapcic struck the outside of Henle's knee with a hard leg kick. It turned out to be the finishing blow as it buckled his opponent's knee and the fight was stopped due to a knee injury.

"I wasn't planning on using my leg kicks," said the new middleweight champion. "I was working on my boxing, but apparently he was too. I couldn't get my hands to work, but when Plan A fails, you go to Plan B."

Mutapcic took advantage of his opponent's mistake to get the win.

"He turned his leg in so I kicked the outside of his leg and that is what buckled his knee," said Elvis.

In the semi-main event, Graham Spencer improved to 9-1 with a win over Shane Nelson. Spencer dominated the UFC vet on the ground for three rounds to take a unanimous decision win and the biggest win of his career.

"This was (Nelson's) first time at 145 (pounds) so I wanted to see how he would handle the weight cut, so I pushed the pace and it paid off," said Spencer.

Spencer, a featherweight, was offered a lightweight title shot after the fight, but would not commit to moving up a division.

Heavyweight Smealinho Rama continued his unbeaten streak by winning his fifth consecutive fight in the first round. Rama had Ryan Fortin in trouble on the ground and finally submitted him with a rear naked choke.

"The game plan was to slip his punches," said Rama. "I came out fast and caught him on the ground."

In a rematch of a MFC 33 bout that ended in a draw, Derek Parker settled the score with Jared McComb. Parker, a former hockey enforcer, outworked his opponent over three rough rounds to earn the victory.

Sabah Fadai showed off his Brazilian jiu-jitsu and submitted Cody Krahn quickly with a Triangle Choke at 1:24 of Round 1.

Paul Grandbois and Jason Kuchera kicked off the main card with a slugfest. Neither displayed great technical skill but the two had the crowd standing on their feet as they traded haymakers. Grandbois outlasted Kuchera and won by TKO in the second round.

In preliminary action, Daniel Swain used his takedowns to neutralize Matt Jelly's offence and win a unanimous decision.

Garret Nybakken caught Jesse Veltri with a sneaky armbar to force a first round tapout.

In the first fight of the card, Chase Degenhardt won with strikes to the head and body in the second round to defeat Chad Sherman in a fight that saw both fighters hurt at times.