Thanks to the coronavirus, UFC Vegas 9 will go into the record books. It is the first time since November 2005 where there was no preliminary and main cards. Just a card of seven fights. Back then, it was headlined by Diego Sanchez against Nick Diaz.
For Brian Kelleher his opponent changed three times for UFC Vegas 9. First it was Ricky Simon, who bowed out when a corner man tested positive for COVID-19. Kevin Natividad was the planned fighter he'd face but that was scratched as well. Going into fight week, Ray Rodriguez was brought in specifically as a possible replacement. You can say it was good foreshadowing especially since the 32-year-old easily made weight.
Ray had been on the Dana White Contender Series, lost, and went back to the regional circuit where he picked up another win before getting the call from the UFC to make his company debut.
The fighter with the five-inch reach advantage looked to kick Brian Kelleher early. As they were feeling each other out the action moved to along the cage. That's where Rodriguez shot in on Kelleher, getting him down to the mat. That's normally a good thing, but just not against the Long Island native.
Brian Kelleher wrapped his arms around Ray's neck locking in a guillotine from the bottom. The tight squeeze gave Ray Rodriguez no choice but to tap out at just 39 seconds of the opening round.
The win helps Kelleher bounce back from his defeat at UFC 250. It also was his 18th finish in his career and his 10th one in the first round.
After walking to the UFC cage to Stone Cold Steve Austin's music, Kelleher told Daniel Cormier they need to go golfing soon. He also said after grabbing his third win of the year, he'd like to add another one to victory column this year.
With his quick performances, that is very likely going to happen. He also gave a shout out to the New York Islanders currently leading their playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers.Published 06 Sep 2020, 07:07 IST