Slow and steady wins the race.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight stalwart Tim Kennedy employed a slow and methodical approach to his UFC Fight Night 31 main event against Rafael Natal last night (Nov. 6, 2013) inside the Ft. Campbell Army Base in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
See the live results and play-by-play here.
It was initially thought he was saving his energy for what could have been a 25-minute grueling war of attrition against "Sapo," but instead, he may have been trying to work around a torn quad (vastus intermedius) suffered a week before headlining the promotion's "Fight for the Troops 3" event on FOX Sports 1.
From his post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani:
"I left that hard job [military] to come do this easy job [fighting]. I'm not going to die in the cage and I could have died out there. I feel like I don't deserve to be in [the Octagon]. I feel like I need to spend the rest of my life trying to make up for leaving that job. I had some serious trouble getting in the cage, both with opponents and this last fight week of camp I tore my quad rather seriously. I was getting massages everyday, not training for the last week. There was no way they were getting me off this card -- would have had to shoot me. If they had to roll me up in a wheelchair to get in that cage, I didn't care. That's not saying I'm tough, just a testament to how bad I wanted to be in that cage. It was for them [the troops], I love them to death. And I have to figure out more ways to help them."
Kennedy was getting inside that cage come hell or high water, but likely did himself a favor by promptly stopping his Brazilian counterpart with a thunderous first-round knockout (see it again here), which spared him another four rounds of hobbling around like Tiny Tim.
I guess when you've been under enemy fire in the Middle East, competing with a torn quad doesn't seem that scary.
For more on Kennedy's victory over Natal check out our fight recap by clicking here. For full results and live play-by-play of UFC Fight Night 31, as well as videos, highlights, commentary and more, check out our "Fight for the Troops 3" live story stream here.