Rafael Natal wasn't the pivotal Middleweight opportunity that Tim Kennedy desired to fast-track his ascent to the top of the 185-pound title contender ladder, but he certainly made the most of it tonight (Weds., Nov. 6, 2013) in the main event of UFC Fight Night 31: "Fight for Troops 3" from Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
Did he ever.
In front of a proud crowd of fellow United States military servicemen, Kennedy delivered the "Knockout of the Night" with a devastating first round finish of the Brazilian. Natal actually came out looking sharper, drilling Kennedy with an early shot and keeping him off balance with his constant stance switches and intermittent kicks.
Kennedy, perhaps a little tight because of the expectations, remained patient and didn't force the issue. He patiently waited for his opening, and with about 30 seconds remaining in the first frame, the special forces sniper landed a beautiful one-punch leaping left hand kill shot.
Natal immediately collapsed to the canvas unconscious, but just in case, Kennedy delivered three more punches just to ensure his latest mixed martial arts (MMA) mission was indeed accomplished.
Kennedy is now in the midst of a three-fight win streak, the two most recent of which have come under Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) banner. He will undoubtedly take on a top-ranked 185-pound contender in his next appearance such as Lyoto Machida, the man he was originally booked to fight this evening.
For complete UFC Fight Night 31: "Fight for Troops 3" results, including play-by-play of the entire card, as well as a detailed recap of the main event between Tim Kennedy vs. Rafael Natal, click here and here.