No one thought Xtreme Couture fighter and submission specialist Vinny Magalhaes could knock out an opponent with a head kick.
Not even Magalhaes.
But that’s exactly how Magalhaes (9-5) defended his M-1 Global light-heavyweight belt Friday night against Russian contender Mikhail Zayats (14-6) in the main event on the M-1 Challenge XXVII mixed martial arts card at Grand Canyon University Arena.
Magalhaes, a world champion grappler and jiu-jitsu competitor, followed a straight right with a swiveling right-head kick that Zayats never saw. Zayats, dazed, dropped to his knees, and Magalhaes pounded him with punches to the head until the fight was called 1:13 into the third round of the scheduled five rounds.
“I have been practicing it (the head kick) all the time; I just have not had the confidence doing it,” said Magalhaes, a Brazilian who trains in Las Vegas. “The first two rounds were not going my way, so I felt like I had to try something that was not going to be expected.”
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