It has not even been a year since Bryan Battle won The Ultimate Fighter 29 but the 27-year-old has quickly risen up the ranks and just made his biggest statement yet.
Entering the octagon for his welterweight debut, Battle (8-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) landed a thundering head kick to send Takashi Sato to the canvas (16-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC).
It secured Battle a brutal knockout win just 44 seconds into the fight.
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“Bryan Battle wants everyone to know he is for real,” Brendan Fitzgerald said in commentary.
“Stop doubting him. He was still feeling a little bit disrespected and under-the-radar in anticipation of this fight.”
Sato had not been finished with strikes since 2015 but Battle said post-fight that the head kick was something he was aiming to use, perhaps not that soon though.
“It’s crazy,” Battle said.
“It’s something that we saw, it’s something we anticipated. I didn’t see it happening quite so soon. That was probably the most beautiful strike I’ve ever thrown.”
It certainly earned Battle plenty of accolades from former UFC fighters Rashad Evans and Din Thomas, who were sitting octagon-side during the fight.
“Oh my God, that kick was absolutely amazing,” Evans said.
“The timing on it was absolutely perfect. He got Sato throwing a punch at the same time as he was throwing a punch and then followed through with a kick. It was just absolutely amazing. Just the sound of it was nasty.
“It put him right out. Bryan Battle makes a big statement.”
“He looked good from top to bottom,” Thomas added.
“Even in the beginning, he looked smooth on his feet. It sounded like he hit a watermelon with a baseball bat, it was a nasty sound to be sitting next to the octagon.”
Battle took the opportunity to call out Bryan Barberena and Ian Garry post-fight, even mistakenly taking aim at the former for spelling his name ‘Brian’.
“I’m not saying this man’s ducking me, but at the least, he’s being protected,” Battle said of Garry.
“I want you. I want all the clout. Neither one of us ranked, nothing is holding us back.”
Barberena was quick to respond on Twitter, taking a cheeky shot at Battle for the name mix-up.