Photo by Ken Pishna via MMA Weekly.
Koch proved that the hype surrounding him wasn't unfounded as he quickly dispatched of Assuncao with a sudden knockout strike at the 2:32 mark of the first round. The victory improves Koch to 5-1 under the Zuffa banner, putting him into the mix as a potential contender in the featherweight division.
With three losses in his last four bouts, Assuncao will need to go back to the drawing board in hopes of turning his career around before the UFC releases him.
Erik Koch def. Raphael Assuncao via KO (strike) - Round 1, 2:32
Koch has been heralded as one of the brightest up-and-coming stars in the UFC's featherweight division, losing only once in his career to NCAA Division I wrestler Chad Mendes. Koch previously defeated Jameel Massouh, Bendy Casmir, and Francisco Rivera under Zuffa's sister promotion, World Extreme Cagefighting, before the UFC merged the promotion into its ranks in December.
Similarly to Koch, Assuncao had yet to make his first appearance inside the Octagon, amassing a 3-2 record in the WEC with his most recent win coming against LC Davis at WEC 52. He had previously lost two straight, dropping a split decision to Diego Nunes and succumbing to a rear naked choke at the hands of Urijah Faber. With seven years of experience in the sport combined with a well-rounded skill-set, Assuncao is considered one of the better veterans in the 145 lb. weight class.