Kicking off Saturday’s UFC Vegas 44 card was a bantamweight bout, book ending the night’s main event — which would see another bantamweight pair, Jose Aldo and Rob Font, throw down.
The card opener, however, saw Louis Smolka go up against Vince Morales. Smolka was looking to make it two wins in a row, though he hadn’t competed in a year. Morales was entering the cage for the second time in 2021, also looking for his second straight victory.
Whether or not ring rust played a factor, it was not Louis Smolka’s night.
There was plenty of feeling out early on in Smolka versus Morales. Smolka put a bit of pressure on, and Morales found some success with his left hand. It looked like the pair might be in for a long night. Then, in a clinch, Louis Smolka popped off a knee. It didn’t land clean, and Morales returned fire with a right hand that planted Smolka face down on the canvas.
A follow-up strike was barely necessarily, as even if Smolka wasn’t out, he was out of it nonetheless. For Morales, it was his first knockout in the UFC, and in highlight reel fashion to kick off the card no less.
That's how you start the show! 😳@Vandetta135 gets the finish in RD 1️⃣! #UFCVegas44 pic.twitter.com/6asiBa5Qte
— UFC (@ufc) December 5, 2021
Following the win, Morales called out Nathanial Wood for a date at the heavily rumored UFC London card next year.
Official Result: Vince Morales def. Louis Smolka by knockout, Round 1, 2:02