Canada’s Kyle (The Monster) Nelson suffers third-round knockout on UFC card

LAS VEGAS — Billy Quarantillo knocked out Canadian featherweight Kyle (The Monster) Nelson with a devastating punch early in the third round on a UFC Fight Night card Saturday.

Quarantillo, who had been taking control as the bout wore on, connected with a left jab and then a powerful right flush to the face. Nelson’s legs buckled and, after a delay, toppled face down to the canvas.

Referee Marc Goddard stepped in before the 29-year-old from Huntsville, Ont., could take further damage. The fight was called seven seconds into the round.

“I just kept hitting him, hitting him and got the win,” said Quarantillo.

The main event at the UFC’s Apex production facility pitted Michelle (The Karate Hottie) Waterson, ranked eighth among strawweight contenders, against No. 13 Angela (Overkill) Hill.

Nelson, the betting underdog, came out aggressively and pinned Quarantillo at the fence. Looking to take Quarantillo down, Nelson (13-4-0) connected with a right to the head.

Quarantillo (15-2-0) survived and lashed Nelson with a body kick. The American kept coming forward, scoring with leg kicks before landing a takedown with 70 seconds remaining in the round.

An unintentional knee to Nelson’s groin halted the action temporarily late in a close first round.

The two traded kicks to open the second, with both fighters swinging. Nelson fought off several takedown attempts at the fence before he went down midway through the round. Nelson quickly fought his way to his feet and the fight continued in a clinch at the fence.

Quarantillo began to find his range with elbows and strikes at close quarters, taking control of the round. Nelson ended up on his back after a failed takedown, absorbing some heavy blows as the round ended with Quarantillo in control.

Nelson was coming off an impressive first-round knockout of Mexican Marco Polo Reyes last September in Mexico City. He lost his first two UFC bouts.

The Canadian, who trains part of the time in Stoney Creek, Ont., was slated to face Sean (The Sniper) Woodson at a catchweight of 150 pounds June 27 in Las Vegas but was derailed by visa issues given the fight’s short notice.

Quarantillo, meanwhile, was supposed to meet Canadian Gavin Tucker in April but the card was cancelled because of the pandemic. Quarantillo then tested positive for COVID-19 in July in Las Vegas ahead of cornering teammate Matt Frevola at a UFC card. Quarantillo was asymptomatic.

The 31-year-old Quarantillo has now won three straight UFC bouts after winning on Dana White’s Contender Series in July 2019. Saturday’s victory was his eighth in a row.

It was a big night for Billy (The Hard-Hitting Hillbilly) Croom who needed just 31 seconds to win his UFC debut by submitting Roosevelt Roberts. The 33-year-old Croom took the fight on one day’s notice.

UFC president Dana White said Croom was getting a US$50,000 performance bonus no matter what happened on the rest of the card.

“I’ve waited my whole life for this. I’ve worked my whole life,” said Croom. “There was a long time I didn’t know I’d ever get here and here we are on top of the world.

“Thirteen years. This has been my entire life. I’ve given up everything I’ve ever had — not that I ever had a lot — but I’ve given everything to get here and boy, I did it like that.”

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