SAN JOSE, Calif. – Anthony Njokuani lost three times in California under the Zuffa banner, and he wasn’t going to let it happen again.
Expertly playing the role of matador to the aggressive Roger Bowling, he earned a second-round KO to piggyback on the night’s first explosive finish.
The lightweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC on FOX 7 event at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. It streamed on Facebook ahead of additional prelims on FX and a main card on FOX.
The fight initially had few of the fireworks of the evening’s opening bout between Yoel Romero and Clifford Starks. A low-stanced Njokuani waited patiently for striking opportunities while the shorter Bowling charged in with swinging punches and kicks. Njokuani’s first concerted effort, a body shot, drew a reaction from the crowd and prompted Bowling to charge back. But Njokuani continued to measure his strikes, and Bowling nabbed a takedown before landing shots from the top.
That awoke Njokuani, who found his feet and delivered stiff, clean combinations of punches and kicks to close the opening frame.
The second frame saw Bowling continue to close distance in hopes of landing in close, but he was forced to contend with the stiff kicks of Njokuani. Bowling took several counters, but pressed forward.
It was that aggressiveness that cost the Strikeforce vet. Njokuani timed a lead left hook that clipped Bowling’s jaw and sent him crashing into his foe before hitting the mat, out cold.
The official time of the stoppage was the 2:52 mark of the second frame.
“That felt so good,” Njokuani said. “I lost the last three times I was in California, and I made it clear I was going to end that streak. I’m so glad I’m back now.”
Njokuani (16-7 MMA, 3-3 UFC) gets back to the winner’s circle after a decision loss to Rafael dos Anjos in his previous bout, which also took place at HP Pavilion. He has hopscotched between wins and losses in his past eight bouts. Bowling (11-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) now has dropped two straight following a decision loss to former Strikeforce champ Tarec Saffiedine.
Up-to-the-minute UFC on FOX 7 results include:
For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 7, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
John Morgan and Ben Fowlkes contributed to this report on-site in San Jose.