In the UFC light heavyweight division, Luiz "Banha" Cane battled Stanislov Nedkov in this quintessential matchup of striker vs. grappler.
With nine knockout victories, Cane's success in the stand-up department is far superior than Nedkov's.
Conversely, however, Nedkov is a highly decorated grappler with five knockout victories of his own.
This electric matchup flowed back and forth for the waning minutes of Round 1. Attempting to establish the jab and a variety of leg kicks, Cane's attempts at mixing up his strikes were thwarted by Nedkov's big overhand right, which landed repeatedly.
Altering his punch combo, Nedkov lands a wild left hook that wobbles Cane as it thumbs against the Brazilian's temple.
Seeing Banha wounded, Nedkov rushes in for the kill. Landing a dizzying array of punches, Cane has no answer as Mario Yamasaki steps in to stop the fight at the 4:20 mark of Round 1.
Cane's attempts at out-striking the tough Bulgarian did not pay the dividends that were expected for the Brazilian.
Conversely, Nedkov's wild punches with tremendous power awarded the grappling sensation a TKO in his first UFC bout.
With a 1-3 record in his last four UFC fights, Cane needs to re-establish what earned him his moderate level of success prior to this down-slide.
Alternatively, an elated Nedkov can look to his second contest under the UFC banner. Needing to refine his striking and sew up his defense, the Bulgarian can be happy with the fact that he did not need to utilize his strengths as a grappler to secure a victory over a higher-level striker.
Keep an eye out for both of these competitors as they attempt to work through the light heavyweight food chain.
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