Casey Kenney continued his strong year with a short-notice win over top prospect Nathaniel Wood at UFC 254, his second win in a month.
Promoted to the televised prelims at UFC 254 were a pair of bantamweights (fighting at a 140lb catchweight) at very similar points in their UFC careers. Casey Kenney and Nathaniel Wood were both 4-1 inside the Octagon to start the night. Both entered off wins, with Kenney having won his past two. The American was also making a quick turnaround, after defeating Heili Alateng on Fight Island earlier this month.
The pace right out of the gate was incredible. The speed and accuracy advantage favored Wood early on, but Casey wasn’t going away with violent kicks and a really nasty left hand. The work to the legs and body seemed to be slowing Wood down about halfway through the round – although the pace may have been the culprit there too. More left hands cracked the jaw of Wood towards the end of the round as Kenney ended the round backing up the Brit.
These two are THROWING! 😱
Chins are holding up well through 1️⃣.
— UFC (@ufc) October 24, 2020
Wood seemed to determined to fight the second round off of the front foot, but that only lasted for about 15 seconds as Kenney soon started his forward march. Kenney cracked with the lefts and the leg kicks again, but then he was starting to show some signs of wearing down thanks to the output of Wood. Each looked to do a bit of wrestling, but nothing doing. They exchanged plenty with each landing their fair share to wind down the round. Of note was a outside leg kick in the final seconds that brought Wood to a knee.
Wood looked like the much fresher of the two to start the third round. He met Kenney in the center of the octagon and threw some sharp straight shots. Kenney wasn’t going away though, as he turned the pressure up and eventually taking Wood down with about three minutes to go. He instantly went to the back where he looked to cement the position and get hooks in. It took nearly 90 seconds, but Wood eventually got the under hook and faced Kenney, creating separation. Wood shot a few takedowns of his own to try to even that score, but wasn’t close on any of them. In the final minute, Wood got the better of the exchanges with a pull-back right hand and some leg kicks.
Casey Kenney def. Nathaniel Wood by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)