The unfortunate truth about Impa Kasanganay is that the very talented fighter with just a single loss will forever be remembered for the wrong reasons. Not for winning his way into the UFC off Dana White’s Contender Series, and claiming victory in his promotional debut just weeks later. Not for posting an 8-0 run to start his career. Instead, “Tshilobo” will always be known as the centerpiece in someone else’s highlight reel, the victim of one of the greatest knockouts of all time, a two-touch spinning kick by Joaquin Buckley.
At UFC Vegas 23, Kasanganay returned for the first time since that knockout loss. Opposite him, Sasha Palatnikov, a talented striker who won his UFC debut back in November. The middleweight pair kicked off the card on UFC Fight Pass. Kasanganay was looking to distance himself from that aforementioned loss to Buckley.
With the fight underway, Kasanganay struck first with a right hand. That would foreshadow a heavier right hand moments later off a caught kick. That knocked Palatnikov off-balance, and Kasanganay would take him to the ground, going to work in half guard. Kasanganay looked to be working at an arm-triangle choke, but couldn’t make it work. Instead, he wound up back in full guard, landing a few punches to the body before Palatnikov escaped. They’d finish the round on the feet; during the break, Palatnikov’s corner told him that given how close the first five minutes were, they’d give it to him.
That was a solid motivational effort, but Palatnikov was clipped early in the second. That led to Impa Kasanganay landing a takdown, then trapping Palatnikov’s neck in a scramble. Almost immediately Kasanganay locked in a rear-naked choke and earned the tap without even having hooks in.
GETS THE TAP!@KingImpa locks in the submission early in RD 2.
— UFC (@ufc) April 10, 2021
Official Result: Impa Kasanganay def. Sasha Palatnikov by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2, 0:26