There’s really nothing like a standing head kick finding a skull in MMA, as one preliminary bout at UFC 291 showed.
Middleweight Roman Kopylov delivered the finish of the night with a head-kick knockout of Claudio Ribeiro in the second round during prelims, sending the Brazilian to the floor stunned. Kopylov got one more hit in on the ground before the fight was called.
The first round had been more evenly matched, with Ribeiro landing 31 significant strikes to Kopylov’s 30. Of course, Kopylov’s second strike of the second round was much more significant.
The win is Kopylov’s third straight and his third straight finish, having notched a third-round KO of Alessio Di Chirico last September and a second-round TKO of Punahele Soriano in January. The Russian’s record now stands at 11-2.
Kopylov delivered the highlight of the prelims for an event competing with the Terence Crawford-Errol Spence Jr. boxing match in a very busy night for combat sports. UFC 291 is headlined by a rematch between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje for the revived “BMF” belt, while the co-main event will have former UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira face former light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz for his light heavyweight debut.
Both bouts could decide who gets the next title shot in their respective divisions.