Kennedy Nzechukwu returned to the octagon for the first time in over a year at UFC 259 on Saturady night. The light heavyweight prospect had last fought in August of 2019, defeating Darko Stosic in a unanimous decision. On Saturday night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nzechukwu was tasked with welcoming kickboxing champ Carlos Ulberg to the promotion.
Ulberg, a teammate at City Kickboxing alongside Israel Adesanya, was entering just his fourth fight as a mixed martial artist. In the end, it was a rude welcome for Ulberg.
Nzechukwu came forward right away, but was just walking into the kicks and combinations of Ulberg. At the end of a combination Ulberg landed a head kick that wobbled Nzechukwu badly. Ulberg kept his composure and continued just picking his shots. Nzechukwu wasn’t producing much, not landing a single strike until well past the first minute, and was just letting Ulberg set the pace and push him around. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Nzechukwu started to throw his hands, landing a lot on the exposed chin of a very tired Ulberg. Late in round one both men were looking extremely tired; they finish the frame looking sloppy, but both men were landing.
Ulberg’s lack of defense was an obvious point of concern. As was his cardio, though in his first UFC outing, he may have hit an adrenaline dump. In the second, Ulberg started at a more measured pace. Nzechukwu was letting Ulberg tee off on him, covering up and letting his opponent waste his energy. Nzechekwu then fired back and landed his big shots. Ulberg was once again failing to move his head off the center line, and the shots Nzechukwu were landing looked to be significant. Still in it, Ulberg was mixing it up very well, throwing a lot of volume while using a lot of kicks. He wasn’t in it for long, however. Nzechukwu continued pressing forward and floored Ulberg with a right hook dropping him and finishing the debuting fighter. Ironically, Ulberg had finally begun to show some head movement, but actually moved right into the knockout blow. The lack of defense — hands low, head rarely moving — almost certainly cost him Saturday night.
OUT COLD. Kennedy Nzechukwu connects with a BOMB to end it 😱
— UFC (@ufc) March 7, 2021
Official Result: Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Carlos Ulberg by TKO, Round 2, 3:19