Knocking your opponent out with a flying knee is a guaranteed way to earn a UFC contract. Just ask A.J. Fletcher, who did exactly that on the Season 5 premiere episode of Dana White’s Contender Series on Tuesday night.
The undefeated welterweight met Leonardo Damiani in the first fight of the night and went straight to work. The pair exchanged strikes before Fletcher started to incorporate some of his wrestling, which allowed for him to secure a takedown on Damiani. Damiani quickly worked his way up from the canvas and separated from Fletcher, who attempted to go for another takedown. He avoided that one, but did not avoid the flying knee that Fletcher threw just a few moments later.
Knee connected to chin as Damiani had nowhere to go up against the cage and was out before he hit the canvas again. Fletcher followed up with some shots on the ground before the referee rushed over to stop the fight.
You can watch the finish below, courtesy of the official Twitter account for the UFC:
The highlight-reel finish and stunned response from the UFC brass was a dead giveaway that the 24-year-old would be getting a spot on the UFC roster, which he did. Fletcher was one of five fighters to receive a contract from Dana White and co. and said afterwards that he sees himself making his promotional debut soon.
Fletcher also hopes that it can be on a card with fellow Lafayette native Dustin Poirier, but is ready for anything.
“No callouts just yet,” said Fletcher during his post-fight interview with assembled media (video by MMA Junkie). “I want to be active. I would like to try and get six fights in a year and a half. That's kind of like my time line. As far as who it is or where it is, I'm not really sure. If Dustin ends up having a scrap, I would absolutely love to get on a card with Dustin. That’s like a dream scenario that I've been telling my brother about for like three or four years, so if that manages to happen, then terrific. If not, then I just want to fight. We’ll see where it goes, but I’m ready.”
Fletcher remains undefeated and sees his overall record improve to 9-0.