An unfortunate illness suffered by Derrick Lewis knocked him out of the scheduled headliner with Serghei Spivac on Saturday so the promotion had to shift gears rather quickly with Nzechukwu and Cutelaba getting bump up to the top spot on the card.
A tough start didn’t deter Nzechukwu as he came out gunning for the knockout in the second round with a pair of knee strikes that rattled Cutelaba badly. As soon as he saw Cutelaba was hurt once the second knee landed, Nzechukwu went for the kill as he started launching bomb after bomb with his hands until his opponent crumbled to the canvas.
Referee Keith Peterson finally saw enough with the end coming at 1:02 in the second round.
“Back in training camp we made the right adjustments,” Nzechukwu said after winning his second straight fight. “I’m slowly growing up in the cage. It’s going to be a slow start. I’m a slow learning but eventually I’m going to get there.”
It was a big overhand right from Cutelaba that actually got the fight started as he sought to overwhelm Nzechukwu before the Contender Series veteran could really get going. Despite having Nzechukwu hurt, Cutelaba decided to look for the takedown as he dragged the fight down to the canvas.
While Nzechukwu was able to scramble his way back to the feet, Cutelaba was persistent as he eventually grabbed onto a headlock and brought them both crashing back down again. Still, Nzechukwu never stopped moving and he escaped yet again, although he couldn’t produce much offense of his own.
A wild exchange opened the second round with Nzechukwu blasting Cutelaba with a huge knee strike as the Moldovan light heavyweight tried to dive for a takedown. Cutelaba ate the shot but Nzechukwu definitely smelled blood in the water in that moment.
Nzechukwu continued his assault with another huge knee strike slamming into Cutelaba’s jaw and that led to the final sequence of punches that stopped the fight. Once Cutelaba was hurt, Nzechukwu wasn’t letting up the pressure as he continued hammering away with strikes until the referee finally saw enough to intervene.
Since first arriving in the UFC, Nzechukwu has been called a top prospect in the light heavyweight division, although consistency has been his biggest problem. Now with this latest win in a last-second main event opportunity perhaps Nzechukwu will turn the corner to become a legitimate contender at 205 pounds.