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Seth Petruzelli Knocks Out Ricco Rodriguez

Former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez was on a 12-fight winning streak and appeared to be on the way back, if not to a title than at least to respectability. But Seth Petruzelli put a stop to any talk that Rodriguez is back.

Petruzelli brutally knocked Rodriguez out in the first round of their Bellator fight on Saturday night: Petruzelli landed a spinning kick to the head to knock Rodriguez off balance, and then when Rodriguez recovered and charged forward with his hands down, Petruzelli leveled him with a big right hand to the chin. With Rodriguez on his back, Petruzelli whaled on him with a double hammerfist, and then the referee stepped in to stop the fight.

The official time of the technical knockout victory was 4 minutes, 21 seconds of the first round. For Rodriguez, the loss was the first time he's been finished since losing to Tim Sylvia at UFC 41.

For Petruzelli, this was his most significant win since knocking out Kimbo Slice in 2008, in a nationally televised fight that led to the downfall of the old EliteXC promotion. Now Petruzelli says he wants to help build Bellator as an up-and-coming promotion.

"I'm so happy," Petruzelli said afterward. "That light heavyweight belt for Bellator has my name written all over it, and I'm coming for it."

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