Following a devastating knockout loss to Jamahal Hill in his last outing, Walker was in prime form on Saturday night as he snatched a nasty rear-naked choke to finish Ion Cutelaba at just 4:37 in the opening round. The victory put Walker back on track after back-to-back defeats inside the octagon.
“Dana [White], I’m getting married Dec. 1, I need the bonus,” Walker shouted after the win. “I don’t want to just knock people out, I want to finish them on the ground as well.”
An exchange of head kicks led to a takedown from Cutelaba as Walker started playing defense from the bottom after ending up on the ground just seconds into the fight. Cutelaba maintained control until he attempted to advance his position, which led to Walker scrambling free, grabbing a body lock and tossing the Moldovan down to the canvas.
From there, Walker started looking for a rear-naked choke with Cutelaba doing his best to defend the submission with the Brazilian constantly threatening on his back.
As Cutelaba continued trying to break free from the position, Walker finally made him pay by quickly sinking his arm under the neck and then securing the choke a split second later.
Cutelaba could be gurgling from the choke as he fought valiantly to survive but eventually he had no choice but to tap before he would have eventually gone to sleep.
It was a strong showing from Walker, who was once considered a serious threat to the UFC light heavyweight title after he earned several splashy finishes when he first arrived in the promotion. The win at UFC 279 helped Walker avoid a potential three-fight losing streak as he attempts to begin climbing back up the ladder at 205 pounds.