UFC Charlotte: Head Kick Sets Up Finish As Ian Garry First to Knock Out Daniel Rodriguez

Daniel Rodriguez and Ian Garry, UFC Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 13: (R-L) Daniel Rodriguez punches Ian Garry of Ireland in their welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Spectrum Center on May 13, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Rising Irish star Ian Garry got what many saw as his toughest test yet against Daniel Rodriguez at UFC Charlotte on Saturday — though “The Future” himself actually disagreed.

Ahead of the mid-afternoon card, which got an early start due to its prominent placement on broadcast network ABC, Garry had dismissed “D-Rod” suggesting he’d tangoed with tougher competition in the past.

Early on, Garry maintained his composure, with Garry landing a solid left hand about 90 seconds in. Rodriguez, for his part, walked forward with the same determination and bad intentions he brought in all of his fights; Garry, however, still held center two minutes in, with Rodriguez taking a big swing and a miss.

When Garry opted to press forward, meanwhile, he connected at least once or twice, that combination forcing Rodriguez to backpedal. And moments later, a head kick connected clean on Rodriguez! “D-Rod” went down moments later, the initial kick enough to rock Rodriguez with a trailing punch finally putting him down, and soon enough he was on the ground, covering up, as Garry piled on with ground n’ pound.

Statement made. A first round finish for Ian Garry, who will likely enter the welterweight rankings given Rodriguez had held the #15 spot in the division. Garry also improves to 12-0, off one of the most spectacular performances of his career to date.

“I want the guy who’s been known as the gatekeeper for the top 10 for God knows how long,” Garry exclaimed out after the fight, calling for a match-up with Neil Magny.

Official Result: Ian Garry def. Daniel Rodriguez by TKO (head kick and punches), Round 1, 2:57