Kennedy Nzechukwu made the most of his last-minute main event slot. He unleashed an abrasive barrage to end Ion Cutelaba at UFC Vegas 65..
Derrick Lewis was unable to perform as the headliner at Serghei SPivac’s scheduled event. The promotion needed to change gears quickly, with Nzechukwu moving up and Cutelaba moving up.
A tough start didn’t deter Nzechukwu as he came out gunning for the knockout in the second round with a pair of knee strikes that rattled Cutelaba badly. As soon as he saw Cutelaba was hurt once the second knee landed, Nzechukwu went for the kill as he started launching bomb after bomb with his hands until his opponent crumbled to the canvas.
Referee Keith Peterson finally saw enough with the end coming at 1:02 in the second round.
“We made the correct adjustments in training camp,” Nzechukwu stated after returning to the winning column. “I’m slowly growing up in the cage. It’s going to be a slow start. It’s going to be slow but I will eventually get there .”
Cutelaba’s overhand attempt to take down Nzechukwu was what got the fight started. Cutelaba, despite Nzechukwu being hurt by his punches, decided to search for the finish and dragged Nzechukwu to the floor.
While Nzechukwu managed to get back on his feet, Cutelaba continued to be persistent and eventually grasped onto a headlock to bring them back to their original position. Still, Nzechukwu never stopped moving and he escaped yet again, although he couldn’t produce much offense of his own.
A wild exchange opened the second round with Nzechukwu blasting Cutelaba with a huge knee strike as the Moldovan light heavyweight tried to dive for a takedown. Cutelaba was at the moment, but Nzechukwu clearly smelled blood.
Nzechukwu kept his attack going with another massive knee strike that smashed into Cutelaba’s jaw. This led to the last sequence of punches which ended the fight. Once Cutelaba was hurt, Nzechukwu wasn’t letting up the pressure as he continued hammering away with strikes until the referee finally saw enough to intervene.
Since first arriving in the UFC, Nzechukwu has been called a top prospect in the light heavyweight division, although consistency has been his biggest problem. Now with this latest win in a last second main event opportunity perhaps Nzechukwu will turn the corner to become a legitimate contender at 205 pounds.