Aiemann Zahabi made the most of his long-awaited return to the Octagon at UFC Vegas 19, knocking out promotional newcomer Drako Rodriguez in the first round.
Aiemann Zahabi looked to snap a two fight losing skid at UFC Vegas 19, following the only two losses of his career. The 33-year-old last fought in May of 2019, and was 7-2 ahead of his rescheduled matchup with Drako Rodriguez, amassing a 1-2 record since joining the UFC. The bout with Rodriguez was initially slated for UFC Vegas 17 in December, but was moved after Zahabi tested positive for COVID 19.
The move delayed Rodriguez’s UFC debut, following the 24-year-old’s victory on Dana White’s Contender Series last September. Rodriguez was on a three fight winning streak, losing once in his eight fight career ahead of UFC Vegas 19. He missed weight ahead of his promotional debut, coming in 4.5 pounds over the bantamweight limit. The fight was then made a catchweight bout, taking place at 140.5 pounds.
Rodriguez took control of the center of the Octagon early-on, throwing the first few heavy strikes of the bout. After eating a couple of leg kicks, Zahabi responded with a jab that momentarily stopped Rodriguez from marching forward. But it wasn’t long before Rodriguez was once again pressing Zahabi, putting the Canadian on the back foot.
Finding the range, Zahabi landed a beautiful 1-2 that knocked Rodriguez out on the spot. A couple of unnecessary ground strikes made it through, but the fight was over, and Zahabi recorded his first UFC victory since February of 2017.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) February 20, 2021
Official Result: Aiemann Zahabi def. Drako Rodriguez by KO (punch), Round 1, 3:05