Mike Rodriguez certainly made the most of his late notice co-main event slot at UFC on ESPN 15.
With Ovince Saint Preux and Alonzo Menifield pulled from the card just before the show started, Rodriguez was bumped into the marquee spot and he needed less than three minutes to pick up a devastating finish against Marcin Prachnio.
“It feels good to be back in the winning column,” Rodriguez said after suffering a loss and a no contest in his past two fights. “It feels real good. More than anything, I’m glad I can still be here, doing what I love.”
When the fight started, Prachnio attempted to work from the outside while tagging Rodriguez with a couple stiff leg kicks. In return, Rodriguez closed the distance and grabbed onto the muay Thai clinch, which resulted in a series of punishing strikes from the inside.
Rodriguez battered Prachnio with knees to the body and as soon as the Polish light heavyweight defended his midsection, the assault went to his head with a series of elbows.
The beginning of the end came after Rodriguez cracked Prachnio with another elbow that sent him crumbling to the mat. Rodriguez followed him to the ground where he delivered another punch that saw Prachnio rendered unconscious as the referee swooped into stop the fight with the end coming at 2:17 in the first round.
Following a pair of disappointing performances, Rodriguez knew he needed to show up big on Saturday night. That’s exactly what he did as Rodriguez capped off his night with a huge knockout while evening up his UFC record to 2-2 with one contest after initially earning his contract by way of the Contender Series.