Kennedy Nzechukwu took full advantage of his last-minute main event slot after unleashing a furious barrage of punches to finish Ion Kutelaba at UFC Vegas 65.
Unfortunately, the illness that Derrick Lewis suffered from knocked him out of his scheduled headlining with Sergei Spivak on Saturday, so the promotion had to change gear fairly quickly and Nzechukwu and Kutelaba moved up to the top spot on the card.
A rough start didn’t stop Nzechukwa as he knocked out in the second round with a pair of knee strikes that rocked Kutelaba hard. As soon as he saw that Kutelaba was injured after landing the second knee, Nzechukwu went for the kill as he started launching bomb after bomb with his hands until his opponent collapsed to the canvas.
Referee Keith Peterson finally saw enough of the second round ending at 1:02.
“We made the right adjustments in training camp,” Nzechukwu said after winning his second fight in a row. “I am slowly growing in a cage. It will be a slow start. I’m a slow learner, but I’ll get my way in the end.”
It was a strong overhand straight from Kutelaba that effectively started the fight as he looked to crush Nzechukwa before the Contender Series veteran could really start the fight. Even though Nzechukwu was injured, Kutelaba decided to look for a takedown by dragging the fight to the canvas.
While Nzechukwu was able to get back on his feet, Kutelaba was persistent as he eventually grabbed the headlock and caused them both to collapse to the ground again. However, Nzechukwu didn’t stop moving and escaped again, although he couldn’t do much harm to himself.
The second round began with a wild exchange as Nzechukwu blasted Cutelaba with a powerful knee as the Moldovan light heavyweight attempted to dive for a takedown. Kutelaba swallowed the shot, but Nzechukwu definitely smelled the blood in the water at that moment.
Nzechukwu continued his attack with another hard knee to Kutelabe’s jaw, leading to a final series of punches to stop the fight. Once Kutelaba was hurt, Nzechukwu didn’t let up the pressure, continuing to throw punches until the referee finally saw enough to intervene.
Since his first arrival in the UFC, Nzechukwa has been hailed as the top light heavyweight prospect, though his biggest problem has been consistency. Now, with this latest last-second main event win, perhaps Nzechukwu will turn the corner and become a legitimate contender at 205 pounds.