Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
As a once longtime training partner with UFC legend and Hall of Famer Randy Couture, it's only fitting Mike Pyle would do his best work not in his twenties, but late thirties. On Saturday, the welterweight contender stopped James Head in the first round of their contest at The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale in Las Vegas, Nev.
Head, who entered this bout on a two-fight win streak, clearly appeared to be the much larger man. He was also the aggressor, forcing Pyle's back to the fence and landed a two-punch combination. Pyle, however, continued to move around the cage and never lost composure.
Later in the round is when the Las Vegan took over. As the two clinch along the fence, Pyle locked up the Thai plum and fired a knee to the middle. Head hung on, but only to his own detriment. Pyle kept the plum, angled off the cage to create space and fired a shot that landed flush on Head's chin.
As he collapsed, Pyle pounced. All that was required to earn the stoppage from referee Steve Mazzagatti was a few more punches.
Pyle moves to 7-3 in the UFC and 24-8-1 overall in professional mixed martial arts competition.
MMA Fighting's Shaun Al-Shatti live blogged the event in real time like this:
Round 1: Referee Steve Mazzagatti oversees the action. Pyle blocks a left hook. Head closes the distance and finds a home for a short punch. Head briefly stumbles Pyle with a straight shot but can't capitalize. Pyle grasps for the clinch. Head unloads a few hard shots to the body. Pyle blasts Head with a knee to the face and Head plummets to the mat. Pyle unleashes a final salvo and Mazzagatti jumps in. Impressive stuff from Pyle.
Mike Pyle def. James Head via TKO (standing knee and strikes) at 1:55 of round 1.
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