Maicelo looked sharp early, but Nugaev walked through the untested Peruvian’s best punches, scoring a sensational knockout in Round 8 of the lightweight bout.
Maicelo—who came in favored—moved around nicely in the first round, mixing combinations with good head movement. Nugaev—to his credit—only needed a couple of rounds to get warmed up and really put the pressure on Maicelo, who perhaps didn’t expect his opponent to be so well-conditioned.
While he did land his fair share of punches, Maicelo did not possess the power to seriously hurt his tough Russian opponent, Nugaev. Maicelo’s downfall was his lack of defense and his inability to play to his strengths. He was baited into close-quarter exchanges, which doesn’t suit his counter-puncher style.
As early as Round 2, Maicelo began swinging wildly with off-balanced overhand rights. Teddy Atlas made his opinion known early on the ESPN telecast, stating that he was concerned with how Maicelo was handling Nugaev’s pressure.
As the fight wore on, Nugaev began to land the cleaner and shorter punches. The best of those shots was the one that ended the fight at the 2:03 mark in Round 8.
Nugaev connected with a short right hand, which sent Maicelo to the canvas for the first time in his career. Referee Jack Reiss counted to three and waved the bout to a halt.
Nugaev—who showed the same come-forward style as his friend and fellow countryman, Ruslan Provodnikov—surely won over some fans with his knockout victory. Rudy Hernandez, Nugaev’s trainer, guided a fighter to a gutsy win for the second straight week and definitely boosted his profile as well.
With the victory, Nugaev is now 6-1 with five knockouts in his last seven fights. With a fan-friendly style, Nugaev will likely get a chance to fight on American television again. Maicelo, who suffered his first professional loss, will now look to regroup and regain some of the momentum he had coming into this fight.
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