Greg Hardy has wasted little time in his mixed martial arts career demonstrating that he has heavy hands.
The controversial former NFL All-Pro had his second pro MMA fight on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series and it was practically over before it began.
Hardy (2-0) knocked out Taboris Gordon (3-1) in just 17 seconds in the feature bout of Tuesday night’s season finale at the UFC Performance Center in Las Vegas.
Hardy swarmed Gordon early and landed with heavy punches until a right on the temple put Gordon on the mat.
Both of Hardy’s pro MMA bouts and all three of his amateur fights were first-round knockouts, the longest of which lasted 1:36.
“I did what I said I’d do. I’m here for business,” Hardy said. “I just had it on my mind. Come out, put on pressure, apply my skill set. I wasn’t aware, I was in the zone. I was going to keep throwing punches until it was waved off.”
Hardy, who is under a developmental contract to the UFC, was not awarded a full contract, as White said the American Top Team competitor needs more time to progress.
“He’s got two fights, some of these kids have 12 fights, some are 7-0,” White said. “He’s got nothing but time. He has to get some more work in.”
There were, however, three UFC contracts awarded during an evening in which all five bouts were finishes inside of two rounds, as Devonte Smith, Kennedy Nzechukwu, and Bobby Moffett were all awarded contracts.
Smith, for his part, left little doubt he’s ready for the big leagues. The lightweight sprawled a double-leg takedown by Joseph Lowry (8-1), then unleashed a devastating series of elbows to the side of Lowry’s head for a knockout. The time of the finish was 2:52 of the opening round.
“I won, haha to all my haters,” Smith (8-1) said after his seventh career knockout. “I’m ready to get to work, ready to get this contract. I’m ready to get this contract and do what I do best, knock motherf*ckers out.
Nzechukwu didn’t make the best impression in his first Contender Series last year when he earned a split decision over Anton Berzin. But he sure made his second appearance count.
The light heavyweight from Dallas (6-0) hit Dennis Bryant (5-2) with a head kick that grazed the back of his opponent’s head, backed off and let him recover, and then soon thereafter finished him with a second head kick. The time of the stoppage was 1:48.
Nzechukwu said he felt more ready to step up onto the UFC stage this time around.
“I’m very happy,” Nzechukwu said after his fourth career knockout. “I think last year I was way too young in my career my experience wasn’t there develop more with that confidence in the cage. I just thank God for putting this in my hands for all his hard work. We’re just ready for anything.”
Moffett (13-3) is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, and he wasted little time showing why in his featherweight fight with Tennessee’s Jacob Kilburn (6-2). The MMA Lab competitor, who was cornered by former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, took Kilburn down early in the opening round and spent the rest of the round hunting for an arm-triangle.
He never quite got it, but Kilburn whiffed on a high spinning back kick early in the second round, was taken down, and this time Moffett finished him with a D’Arce choke. The time of the tapout was 1:02.
“I know that if I’m mentally playing the image in my head over and over again, I have dreams about it and that’s the way it ends up going,” Moffett said after his eight career submission win. “I didn’t beat him up too much in the first round, and if I had concentrated on push-off elbows, maybe I would have got it in the first.”
The evening’s featherweight opener saw a fine display of heart by Madison, Wisc.’s Alex Gilpin (12-1). Gilpin’s opponent, J.R. Coughran (6-1) of Oklahoma City, came out firing in the open round, pushing forward and landing everything from low kicks to combos to the head and body to spinning strikes.
Gilpin, though, eventually figured out his range, and turned the bout into a firefight late. In the second round, he shot for a takedown, stayed with it and scored another takedown when Coughran popped back to his feet, then deftly maneuvered into position for a D’Arce choke. Coughran tapped at the 1:55 mark for Gilpin’s seventh straight victory.
“I knew I was going to get the finish eventually,” Gilpin said after his ninth career finish victory. “It was tougher than I thought but I was prepared for anything. It was a little feel out process. Sometimes it takes me a little while to get going, but that was a war.”