Tattooed Italian MMA wildman shuns glove-touch to KO rival in 7 seconds (VIDEO)
Italian brawler Walter Pugliesi, a former drug dealer-turned-MMA fighter, certainly didn't waste any time in at Saturday's 'Golden Cage' event in Italy, dispatching his opponent early with a stunning flying knee KO.
Heavily tattooed Italian MMA stalwart Pugliesi, known to some as 'Kraken', took a page from UFC star Jorge Masvidal's book to launch the 'super necessary' technique in the fight's opening seconds, turning down opponent Konstantin Linnik's request to touch gloves and instead launching his knee directly into the Ukrainian fighter's dome.
The knee landed squarely to the left side of Linnik's skull, sending him cascading to the canvas and prompting the referee to call off the fight after the Italian's unanswered barrage of ground strikes which followed. All of this took just seven seconds from start to finish.
The spectacular finish moves Pugliesi to 8-3 in his professional MMA career and successfully rebounds him from a loss in his last outing to Konrad Dyrschka more than a year ago – but in some ways, it is remarkable that Pugliesi is free to continue his MMA career after a rough upbringing which saw him dragged into the world of drug dealing.
It was something he said could easily have cost him his freedom, if not his life.
"It began with some weed smoked with my friends, but soon it got worse. I started robbing and stealing from other teenagers. At 15 I was arrested for the first time, along with one of my best friends. He died some years later in Brazil, due to an overdose," he said last year.
"I spent two years and three months in rehab. I used to cause a lot of troubles, so they moved me from one center to another. The third [rehabbing center] was hell. There were adults too, there. Junkies and criminals of any kind. I couldn’t trust anyone."
Pugliesi says that mixed martial arts saved his life but that it wasn't an easy road by any means, and even after he emerged form his own addiction issues trouble would still find him.
"I remember this cokehead. He was completely out of his mind and was trying to smash my head with his buckle," he said.“I stabbed him in the chest with a knife. I was already sober, but I had to defend myself.
"I think I’ve just replaced drugs with mixed martial arts. A thing strong enough to keep me away from another as strong.”
Kinda suspect when you hold your hand up like you want to touch gloves only to blitz the guy. It’s ultimately not his fault cause you should always be prepared but still kind of BS cause the other guy was prepared to touch em up.— Drew Hawk (@WeGotOneBich) December 4, 2021
At no point after the round started did tattoo guy act like he was aiming to touch gloves. It's all on the other guy that.— Silly Lukasz (@craftyboxing) December 5, 2021
Surely at this point you realise he’s probably not sprinting at me to touch gloves pic.twitter.com/pY5w7BNZxl— pantoja szn (@NarutoMMA) December 4, 2021
And judging by some of the reactions online to Pugliesi's most recent showing on Saturday night, fight fans are glad that he was able to put his issues behind him and showcase his skills in the cage - even if they question his opponent's decision to try and touch gloves.
"Kinda suspect when you hold your hand up like you want to touch gloves only to blitz the guy. It’s ultimately not his fault cause you should always be prepared but still kind of BS cause the other guy was prepared to touch em up," wrote one fan in response to the clip.
"At no point after the round started did tattoo guy act like he was aiming to touch gloves. It's all on the other guy that," disagreed another, while a third highlighted that Linnik probably should have realized quite quickly that a glove touch wasn't on Pugliesi's immediate agenda.