BALTIMORE – Sometimes it’s not how you start. It’s how you finish. And Danny Castillo finished on Saturday.
After a first round that saw him taken down twice by Charlie Brenneman, Castillo scored a one-punch knockout quickly into the second for an emotional victory.
The lightweight preliminary-card bout took place at today’s UFC 172 event at Maryland’s Baltimore Arena. It aired on FOX Sports 1 prior to the pay-per-view main card.
Castillo kicked early, which forced Brenneman to work for a trip takedown. He landed it and went to work on top in side control. He looked for an arm triangle, then jumped to mount, where he went after Castillo’s arm. But he couldn’t hold it and Castillo wriggled out and took Brenneman’s back near the fence.
The two looked for openings on the feet, but late in the round Brenneman again took the fight to the ground, but again lost the position and Castillo finished the frame with a choke applied as time ran out.
As it turned out, Brenneman may have preferred having that choke on than what was to come in the second.
In the middle frame, there would be no takedown concerns for Castillo. With a looping right hand, he drilled Brenneman and put him to sleep with one shot. He quickly moved in, fist cocked, in case he needed more. But he didn’t, as “The Spaniard” laid stiff on the canvas.
It was an emotional win for Castillo, who had Edson Barboza on the ropes in December, but couldn’t finish him early and lost a decision. This time, he didn’t have to worry.
“I don’t know what to say,” Castillo said. “I’m really thankful for being in the sport this long. It’s just an amazing ride, and I could have never pictured this when I first started. I have an amazing corner. The Barboza shot was a straight right hand, and this was a looping over the top. That’s what I landed, and I’m so happy.”
Castillo (17-6 MMA, 7-3 UFC) is back in the win column after a December loss to Edson Barboza. Brenneman (19-7 MMA, 4-6 UFC) lost for the second straight time since returning to the UFC on a four-fight winning streak.
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(Steven Marrocco and John Morgan contributed to this report on-site in Baltimore.)