The 34-fight veteran, who previously won on Dana White’s Contender Series but didn’t get signed by the promotion, made the most of his opportunity on Saturday night while facing a very tough challenge from Phil Hawes. Throughout the fight it was Hawes landing the big shots and throwing blitzing combinations but Curtis only needed one perfectly timed counter punch to land clean, which ended the fight at 4:27 in the first round.
“I’ve been trying to get here for about 10 yaers now,” Curtis shouted with a smile on his face. “I just never got that chance. I’m here. I can’t tell you, I’ve given up 14 years of my life for this. Now I get to make my UFC debut in Madison Square Garden. I couldn’t ask for a better story.”
When the fight got started it appeared Hawes might be headed for a knockout win of his own after he was peppering Curtis with fast combinations on the feet. With Curtis stuck backing up, Hawes just stayed on the attack and never let the Ohio native settle into any kind of rhythm for his own offense on the feet.
That all changed late in the first round when Hawes stepped into another combination, except this time he was met by Curtis’ punch that put him on wobbly legs. Hawes eventually fell to the canvas with Curtis delivering another couple of punches to put an exclamation point on his performance.
Undefeated in his past six fights in a row, Curtis is a nice addition to the roster and he’ll likely enjoy his celebration tonight after finally making it to the UFC and earning a first-round knockout.