A year and a half away led to a slow start from Kennedy Nzechukwu, but he finally warmed up in the second round before connecting with a brutal right hook that finished Carlos Ulberg on the UFC 259 prelims.
As a teammate and training partner to UFC middleweight king Israel Adesanya, Ulberg came into the fight with a ton of hype behind him and he certainly looked every bit the part of a future contender during the initial exchanges in the opening round.
Ulberg battered Nzechukwu with a relentless series of punches, targeting both the head and body and even connecting with a huge head kick. But Nzechukwu refused to go away and as he absorbed the punishment, he was also watching Ulberg punch himself out after exerting so much energy going for the finish.
That led to a slugfest in the second round and Nzechukwu made Ulberg paid for his lacking defense after throwing a flurry of shots capped off by a devastating right hook that put the City Kickboxing light heavyweight down in a heap on the canvas. Nzechukwu followed with a few more shots as the referee rushed into stop the fight with the end coming at 3:19 into the second round.
“It feels great,” Nzechukwu said after getting his first win since 2019. “I just tried to get my head in it. I need that ring time. I just had to push the pace as my coach said. I just knew I had to push it more. That was a perfect stoppage. He’s a tough kid.”
After coming up short in his octagon debut, Nzechukwu has now picked up back-to-back victories but none bigger than his win on Saturday night while taking out a highly touted prospect like Ulberg, who Adesanya had previously predicted would be a champion in the UFC one day.