That painful winning feeling: Fighter survives THREE groin kicks to win first UFC fight (VIDEO)
Kennedy Nzechukwu picked up his first-ever win in the octagon with a unanimous decision victory over Serbian Darko Stosic, but the victory didn't come quite as expected after his opponent had TWO points deducted for groin strikes.
The light heavyweight newcomer lost his UFC debut to Scotland's Paul Craig earlier this year, and knew that he desperately needed to pick up a win in his second octagon appearance.
But things didn't look good early on as Stosic started the better and began to repeatedly hammer Nzechukwu's lead leg with powerful kicks.
But landing kicks to an opponent's upper thigh is a precise technique that requires accuracy to avoid a nasty foul if the foot or leg connects with the opponent's groin. And, unfortunately for both men, Stosic lost that accuracy on three separate occasions during the contest - one in each round.
The first indiscretion was treated by referee Gary Copeland as an accidental, incidental foul as the official opted to issue only a warning to the Serbian, making clear a repeat offense would result in a point deduction.
But when a second, much clearer, more powerful kick found its way into Nzechukwu's groin in Round 2, Copeland halted the action again and, after explaining his prior warning, deducted a point from the Serbian fighter.
Then, in the third round, a third thumping kick from Stosic connected flush with Nzechukwu's groin, forcing Copeland to once again pause the contest. Medical staff checked on Nzechukwu's condition as the referee issued a second point deduction to Stosic.
Ref Gary Copeland tells Darko Stosic “It’s not a good zone for you, brother,” after a third kick lands in Kennedy Nzechukwu’s nuts. To be fair, after three SOLID shots to the groin, it’s probably a pretty bad zone for Nzechukwu right now, too. #UFCNewark— Simon Head (@simonhead) August 3, 2019
Nzechukwu's overall performance was a disappointing one, so much so that as the fighters stood in the center of the octagon awaiting the judges' scores at the end of the contest, the result was far from a formality.
And while Nzechukwu eventually took the unanimous decision win with scores of 29-26, 29-26, 28-27 (amended from 29-26, 28-27, 28-27), Stosic walked away still annoyed that he hadn't earned the decision, despite the two point deductions.