Kicking off the UFC Vegas 51 card on Saturday at the Apex in Las Vegas was a bantamweight scrap featuring Alateng Heili taking on Kevin Croom.
Alateng was entering off a draw against Gustavo Lopez, while Croom had dropped back-to-back fights against Alex Caceres and Brian Kelleher. Those two losses had prompted Croom to drop to 135lbs for Saturday’s bout.
In the end, Alatengheili spoiled Croom’s bantamweight debut — but few would have foreseen how quickly he got the job done.
Both fighters took the center of the octagon after a touch of the gloves. A front kick from Croom started the fight. Croom landed a body kick and a low kick. Alateng landed an overhand right and sparked Croom. Croom tried to recover, but Alatengheili pounced on him, landing a few more punches. Croom went face-first to the mat, which forced the referee to step in.
The Chinese fighter only needed a minute to put away Croom. Less than that, actually.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 16, 2022
The win snaps Alatengheili’s skid, which saw him suffer a loss prior to his draw with Lopez, and puts him back into the win column for the first time since 2019. As for Croom, that is three straight losses, and he might be on his way back to the regional scene.
Official Result: Alatengheili def. Kevin Croom by knockout (punches), Round 1, 0:47