Gian Villante earns second UFC win


Gian Villante, left, throws an uppercut at Sean O'Connell during a light heavyweight bout at UFC FIght Night on June 28, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo Credit: Getty

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The first time Gian Villante left the country, he contracted bronchitis and got beat up in Brazil. That was last March.

The second time Villante needed to bring his passport with him to the airport, his destination was different. The results were, too.

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Villante, from Levittown, outstruck Sean O'Connell to win a split decision at UFC Fight Night 43 in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday. The judges scored it 29-28, 28-29, 29-28, for Villante, who earned his second victory in the UFC.

Villante (12-5, 2-2 UFC) and O'Connell earned Fight of the Night for their 15-minute slugfest, netting each fighter a $50,000 bonus.

"Just got home from a late night burger run to find out I won FOTN!!!Thank you so much @ufc and @danawhite I'll always bring everything I got," Villante tweeted.

Both fighters showcased their striking skills -- and their ability to take a punch -- for 15 minutes in the cage. O'Connell (15-6) did land a solid left hook in the second round that knocked down Villante, but he quickly recovered and got back to his feet in a matter of seconds.

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Villante absorbed an inadvertent groin strike to open the third round and emerged from the break the more active fighter to solidify the win.

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