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After being wobbled by punches early, Kang (14-7 MMA, 3-1 UFC) locked up a triangle choke late in the first, forcing Cannetti (7-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) to tap out at the 4:53 mark of Round 1.
The bantamweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 124 event at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. It aired on FS1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of the main card on FS1.
Cannetti had the upper hand early, hurting Kang with the left hand and throwing him to the mat in the opening minutes, battering Kang’s right eye in the process.
But Kang would collect himself and turn the tables, getting a takedown of his own minutes later, and moving straight into full mount with a minute left in the opening round.
Initially it looked as if Cannetti might survive the round, but after a slick transition off a Cannetti escape attempt, Kang locked up a triangle choke in the waning seconds.
Cannetti responded by lifting Kang off the mat and then putting him against the fence, but this only gave Kang a chance to tighten the choke as his weight slowly pulled them back to the ground. With time ticking away, Cannetti tried to punch his way out of the choke, but those punches soon turned into taps with just seven seconds left in the opening round.
“It feels great to be back in the octagon and I am very happy with this performance,” Kang said. “I want to fight again soon and I will continue to finish those who are in front of me.”
Kang’s win is his third in a row, but his first in more than three years, owing to military service in his native South Korea. Cannetti has now lost two of his last three.
Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 124 results include:
(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan contributed to this report on site in St. Louis.)
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