To start the day, we had welterweights Gunnar Nelson and Rick Story engage in a five-round, 25-minute battle. Story, who once defeated current champion Johny Hendricks, picked up the split decision and handed Nelson his first pro loss.
Max Holloway picked up his fourth straight finish since a 2013 pair of decision losses to Conor McGregor and Dennis Bermudez, stopping Akira Corassani in the opening round.
Corassani, Ilir Latifi and Niklas Backstrom all lost in the first round in front of their home fans in Sweden. Latifi was stopped by Jan Blachowicz, while Mike Wilkinson finished off Backstrom.
In front of his home fans, Rory MacDonald stopped Tarec Saffiedine in the main event in Canada. After dominating through the first two rounds, MacDonald planted the former Strikeforce champion and pounced, finishing him quickly in the third.
It was the first finish for MacDonald since he stopped Che Mills. Like he did at that time, MacDonald simply stared through Saffiedine after ending the contest. He has now won three straight and is 8-1 in his last nine overall, falling only via split decision to Robbie Lawler.
With all the pressure on his side of the cage, Raphael Assuncao did more than enough to remain a top contender in the bantamweight division, defeating Bryan Caraway in the co-main event. Assuncao earned his seventh consecutive victory, a streak that stands behind only UFC champions Jon Jones and Chris Weidman.
Four alums from The Ultimate Fighter: The Nations picked up wins, as Canadians Chad Laprise, Elias Theodorou, Nordine Taleb and Olivier Aubin-Mercier went 4-0.
UFC Fight Night 53 results:
Rick Story def. Gunnar Nelson via split decision (47-48, 49-46, 50-44)
Max Holloway def. Akira Corassani via TKO (strikes) at 3:11 of Round 1
Jan Blachowicz def. Ilir Latifi via TKO (strikes) at 1:58 of Round 1
Mike Wilkinson def. Niklas Backstrom via KO (strike) at 1:19 of Round 1
Magnus Cedenblad def. Scott Askham via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Nico Musoke def. Alexander Yakovlev via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Dennis Siver def. Charles Rosa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Cathal Pendred def. Gasan Umalatov via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Krzystof Jotko def. Tor Troeng via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)
Mairbek Taisumov def. Marcin Bandel via TKO (strikes) at 1:01 of Round 1
Zubaira Tukhugov def. Ernest Chavez via TKO (strikes) at 4:21 of Round 1
UFC Fight Night 54 results:
Rory MacDonald def. Tarec Saffiedine via TKO (strikes) at 1:28 of Round 3
Raphael Assuncao def. Bryan Caraway via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Chad Laprise def. Yosdenis Cedeno via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Elias Theodorou def. Bruno Santos via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Nordine Taleb def. Jingliang Li via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Mitch Gagnon def. Roman Salazar via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:06 of Round 1
Daron Cruickshank def. Anthony Njokuani via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Jake Lindsey via submission (inverted triangle choke) at 3:22 of Round 2
Paul Felder def. Jason Saggo via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Chris Kelades def. Patrick Holohan via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Albert Tumenov def. Matt Dwyer via TKO (strikes) at 1:03 of Round 1
Pedro Munhoz def. Jerrod Sanders via submission (guillotine choke) at :39 of Round 1