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LAS VEGAS – Julian Marquez made the most of his time at Dana White’s Contender Series 4, where he scored a massive knockout, but he almost didn’t get there.

Marquez (6-1) earned his way into the UFC with a crushing knockout of middleweight Phil Hawes (4-2) on Tuesday. It was the featured bout of Dana White’s Contender Series 4, which took place at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas and streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Marquez said he envisioned this exact scenario – winning the fight and getting a UFC contract – but he had a few hurdles. Chief among them? His weight cut.

“If you would have seen me – if I released the pictures of me cutting weight last night – you guys would definitely laugh and be like, ‘Holy (expletive),'” the former LFA/Bellator/Combate Americas fighter told MMAjunkie. “I lost a good amount.

“I was the last person in the sauna. And actually, I was lucky enough to get an extension because they said they opened up an hour early. I was there at 5 a.m. At 4:50, no one was there, and it was down to the wire, but I made the weight, and now I’m here.”

The 27-year-old ultimately connected on a head-kick KO that had social media buzzing (via Twitter):

After Hawes attempted a takedown, Marquez said he made his opponent pay on the next one.

“On the second takedown, I pushed him up against the cage, and I saw the same thing,” he said. “So I backed up and waited to let him get up, and I just let the kick go, and it just so happened to find his chin.”

And the aftermath?

“It felt amazing,” he said. “It was a shocker. I hope he heals fast. It was a pretty nasty blow. He didn’t go down all nice and easy. He went down pretty hard.”

Check out the full post-fight interview above.

And for more on Dana White’s Contender Series 4, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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