Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
After a career made in the kickboxing ring, Tyrone Spong finally transitioned to mixed martial arts with impressive credentials, big hype and limitless potential.
His first time out was nothing more than target practice. Spong landed at will against journeyman veteran Travis Bartlett before closing him out with a walkaway knockout off a right cross at 3:15 of the first round.
"I've been competing on the highest level for a long time," he said afterward. "I can deal with the pressure"
Spong barely got touched in the fight, which led off the World Series of Fighting main card. He knocked Bartlett down in the fight's opening seconds with a vicious head kick, but let him up and continued with his precision strikes. Within two minutes, he had Barlett bleeding from over his left ear. The he attacked with body shots.
Finally, with Bartlett backed against the cage, Spong stepped in with a short right that landed flush and put Bartlett down.
Ironically, Spong, who is used to the kickboxing rules that allow a downed fighter a standing-eight count, walked away, forgetting he could try to finish on the ground. It didn't matter as Bartlett wasn't getting up, and ref Steve Mazzagatti stopped it.
"I have to get used to finishing the guy," he admitted with a smile.
Bartlett hadn't fought in over two years, and after getting his debut under his belt, Spong will likely draw a more relevant opponent his next time out.
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