Ilia Topuria is the real deal, folks.
The undefeated featherweight proved that yet again with a dominant performance over Bryce Mitchell before wrapping up a nasty arm-triangle choke to get the submission win over a noted ground specialist in the opening bout on the main card at UFC 282.
The stoppage came at 3:10 in the second round after Mitchell was forced to tap with Topuria locking on the fight-ending choke.
“I want a title fight next if not … let’s do UFC Spain,” Topuria said afterwards. “Before I walked in, I knew I was better than him on the ground and stand up, anywhere. In the end, I had to submit him because I had the opportunity. I knew that I was better than him on the ground and I show it to everyone.”
A powerhouse on the feet, Topuria cracked Mitchell with a stiff combination early followed by a calf-kick that took the Arkansas native off his feet momentarily. That kick forced Mitchell to actually switch stances to take the target away from Topuria before then trying to close the distance to look for the takedown.
Topuria was doing a good job defending the wrestling, although Mitchell did eventually drag the fight to the floor but he was unable to really mount any offense from the top position.
As the second round got underway, Topuria was throwing heat behind every punch and that led to a huge shot landing that sat Mitchell down on the canvas. Topuria stayed on the attack as he continued blasting Mitchell with hammers until he essentially bullied his way to a takedown of his own.
From there, Topuria saw the opening for the arm triangle choke and as soon as he latched onto the submission, Mitchell didn’t have much choice but to tap out and end the fight.
Topuria was already considered a future contender at 145 pounds but this win solidifies him as a legitimate threat to anyone in the division. It’s likely he’ll be staring down an even bigger fight in his next appearance in the UFC.