Gian Villante summoned the Nassau Coliseum crowd for some support to begin the third round. They obliged.
They continued to oblige as the Levittown native landed several clean shots in the opening minutes of the final round of his light heavyweight bout against Patrick Cummins at UFC Long Island on Saturday night.
They roared as their hometown warrior exchanged with Cummins in the final seconds of the fight.
And they booed aggressively when Villante ended up on the wrong side of a split decision. The judges scored it 29-28, 28-29, 29-28, in favor of Cummins. It’s the first time since 2011 in Strikeforce that Villante (15-9) has lost back-to-back fights.
Villante opened the first round with a bang, landing several right hands that staggered and bloodied Cummins.
“I knew I hurt him with those hammer fists,” Villante said. “He was wobbling and went to one knee.”
An accidental headbutt later in the round cut Cummins again in his head.
“I didn’t know you stop fights for head collisions and give him five minutes to recover. I’ve never seen that,” Villante said. “I didn’t know you get timeouts.”
Cummins, a wrestler, struggled most of the fight getting takedowns against Villante, a former state high school wrestling champion and No. 3 in takedown defense in the UFC light heavyweight division.
Cummins (10-4) was more active in the second round and landed enough significant strikes to take that round. He was taken to Nassau University Medical Center after the fight, the UFC said.
“I thought I had him in the first and the third,” Villante said. “I thought I hurt him to the point where I could have finished him, but I didn’t want to leave myself open.”
“I was way too careful,” Villante said. “I said going into the fight that I was gonna be careful, but . . . .”
“I should have just poured it on.”