The co-main event was bumped to the concluding fight spot after Derrick Lewis pulled out of his bout against Sergey Spivak due to an undisclosed injury.
Cutelaba started out as stronger between the two combatants, finding some success with his clinch work. The Moldovan light heavyweight contender opened his offense with leg kicks and an overhand right before changing levels and controlling Nzechukwu against the fence. He arguably won the first round, even managing to pull off a kimura lock attempt in the process.
In the second round, Kennedy Nzechukwu came out as the aggresor and tried to close the distance and overturn the deficit from the first round. The defining moment in the fight came when Cutelaba ran straight into a knee by the Nigerian and was visibly dazed by the blow.
‘African Savage’ saw the perfect opening and launched a series of attacks, eventually forcing the referee to intervene and won the fight via TKO.
Watch the finish below:
For Ion Cutelaba, this was his third straight loss this calendar year. He previously lost to Ryan Spann and Johnny Walker via submission. This puts him in a tight spot, having won only one fight in last seven appearances.
Kennedy Nzechukwu reacts to sensational TKO victory over Ion Cutelaba at UFC Vegas 65
Kennedy Nzechukwu overcame some initial adversity in the first round to emerge victorious in his fight against Ion Cutelaba at UFC Vegas 65.
This was his second consecutive victory in 2022, having lost two back-to-back fights before that. ‘African Savage’ improved his UFC record to five wins and three losses with a spectacular performance earlier tonight.
Reacting to the victory in the post-fight interview with Michael Bisping, Kennedy Nzechukwu stated:
“Back in training camp we made the right adjustments. Even though I fought on July 9th last, there’s so much drastic change that we’ve accumulated over the months.”
Detailing the finish, he added:
“He [Nzechukwu’s coach] said he [Ion Cutelaba] might get the takedown, I should just work my way from there and not get overwhelmed. He said from the second round he’s going to get tired and desperate for the takedown.”
Watch the post-fight octagon interview below: