After some intense early exchanges, Spann (20-7 MMA, 6-2 UFC) latched a deep standing front choke on Cutelaba (16-7-1 MMA, 5-6-1 UFC) that he turned into a guillotine to finish the fight at the 2:22 mark of Round 1.
The was the UFC on ESPN 36 co-main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Spann opened quickly with a jab, overhand right combination that got some respect. Cutelaba used a lot of movement, but showed some hesitance pulling the trigger. Spann landed a pair of hard punches and they collided near the fence, which led to them spilling to the canvas and Cutelaba getting mount. Spann stood back up, but Cutelaba secured another takedown.
Spann stood back up then locked in a front choke during a scramble on the feet. He pulled Cutelaba to the canvas and forced an urgent tap out for a beautiful stoppage win.
It was an important performance for Spann, who suffered a first-round submission loss to Anthony Smith in his first UFC headliner in September. He’s now alternated wins and losses over his past five fights, and hopes this showing was the beginning of his best form.
“I had to get out of my way to make sure I did what I had to do,” Spann said in his post-fight interview with Michael Bisping. “I didn’t get out of my way last time. I made sure I did this time. I’m going to get my coach that belt. I’m telling you, I’m coming.”