Boring fights, and therefore boring performances, are part of the game. It’s a simple fact, one that I tend to have more sympathy toward than most. When the salaries are low, injury risks are high, and careers tend to be short, I totally understand why a fighter would opt to take the safe, boring path to victory when it presents itself.
That’s what Marcin Prachnio did last night (Sat., Feb. 18, 2023) at UFC Vegas 69, which took place inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The same man who once ran himself straight in Sam Alvey’s only weapon of note — the Southpaw check hook — three consecutive times to lose his UFC debut, has learned something in his years on the roster. He was given an easy avenue to victory, and rather than pursue something greater and risk absolute chaos, chose to take it.
Official #UFCVegas69 weigh-in results: William Knight - 206 pic.twitter.com/3lOwvisoxm— MMA mania (@mmamania) February 17, 2023
What stands out as wildly bizarre if William Knight’s performance. “The Knightmare” is surely one of the strongest men at 205 pounds, a majorly jacked wrestler with big power in his hands. He’s never looked the part of an elite contender, sure, but crappy fighters don’t beat Alonzo Menifield. The man has considerable physical gifts and some pretty decent skills. He entered the fight as a slight favorite.
He’s not an awful fighter.
If UFC Vegas 69 was your first exposure to Knight, however, you’d never know it. For about one minute, he freely let Prachnio kick him, barely firing back and doing little in the way of defense. Somewhere around the 60- or 90-second mark, he started looking visibly annoying at how Prachnio was fighting, conservatively, but actively kicking him hard on the inside and outside of his leg.
That was the final development of the fight. For the next 14 or so minutes, Knight continued to do quite literally nothing but look irritated as Prachnio kicked him. The final stats are astounding: Prachnio landed a record-setting 63 low kicks.
Knight landed eight total strikes ... and none were to the head.
Prachnio's 63 leg kicks are the most in a 3-round men's fight in UFC history #UFCVegas69 pic.twitter.com/VlNUpnCA9Y— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) February 19, 2023
It’s such a bizarre performance that it’s worthy of a second glance. No one is likely to remember much from UFC Vegas 69 — it was a pretty typical UFC Apex event — but fans will remember Marcin Prachnio vs. William Knight the same way Nate Quarry vs. Kalib Starnes was immortalized back in 2008.
What was going on in Knight’s head?
His corner was desperately imploring him to do something — ANYTHING — for most of the fight. The man had options, too. He could have charged forward with a wild swings, really run into a takedown attempt, or actually committed to countering kicks with punches. None of those were outside the realm of his game, and Prachnio is not a defensive master in regards to strikes or takedowns. A single connection of either could have drastically changed the fight.
Atleast his corner are trying to win— ᴛʜᴇᴀʀᴛᴏꜰᴡᴀʀ (@TheArtOfWar6) February 19, 2023
During R3 William Knight was seriously like “aight I’m finna just be a spectator now”. He was hoping Prachnio wouldn’t notice him over there or something. #UFCVegas69 pic.twitter.com/FOX7Cd8nXV— Strong and Jacket MMA Picks©️ (@strongandjacket) February 19, 2023
I’ve talked with a lot of fighters over the years, enough to know that showing up to fight and moving in slow-motion is a shared and common dream. An equally common fear that goes far beyond fighting is that when the bright lights come on, the performer — whether we’re talking a fist fight or a piano recital — will completely forget what to do.
Knight experienced some mix of both nightmares in the cage last night, and at some point, he woke up with a battered leg and likely UFC release.
For complete UFC Vegas 69: “Andrade Vs. Blanchfield” results and play-by-play, click HERE.