Kenny Florian, a graduate of Dover-Sherborn High and Boston College, is in action tonight as the co-main event of the UFC show in Las Vegas.
KenFlo, a muay thai and Brazillian jiu jitsu expert, who trains at Sityodtong in Somerville (see our feature on Kenny here) and hosts MMA Live on ESPN.com, is taking on Joe Stevenson, with the winner expected to get the next shot at lightweight champion B.J. Penn (after he fights welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in January). Kenny is coming off an impressive win over lightweight star Roger Huerta.
Here’s a running recap of the fight.
Round 1: Kenny is accompanied to the ring by his trainer, Kru Mark DellaGrotte, and his brother and training partner Keith Florian. Joe Stevenson is 34-8, his last loss coming to Penn earlier this year. Kenny is 12-3. Herb Dean is your official.
Both men touch gloves and here we go. Kenny comes out early with a leg kick… both men trade jabs… Kenny connects with a big left early… adds a huge leg kick that is partially blocked… Stevenson is stalking Kenny… finally trapping him against the cage. They roll to the mat but Kenny gets back to his feet. They are in the clinch now… take down by Stevenson… Kenny warned for grabbing the fence… 3 minutes left… both men are back up and circling each other… jabs from Florian… big leg kick by Kenny… Stevenson keeping the pressure on, and another clinch against the cage… big takedown for Florian! KenFlo on top, Stevenson trying to pull guard… 90 seconds left… Kenny gets full mount! Now he’s raining punches down on Stevenson, and gets his back! 1 minute remaining… Kenny gets the rear naked choke — and Stevenson TAPS OUT!
The official announcement is made… the winner via rear naked choke at 4:03 of the first round… Kenny “KenFlo” Florian!
Some choice quotes from Kenny’s post-fight interview…
“I wanted to go out and make a statement. I want BJ’s belt! You’re a master – I want to kill that master!”
“I’m working hard every day, while everyone is out there criticizing, I’m out there training, that’s what I do, that’s my life.”