Former Army Ranger Tim Kennedy practically begged to be placed on Wednesday night's UFC Fight for the Troops III card so he could fight in front of his brothers and sisters in uniform at Fort Campbell in Hopkinsville, KY and he brought them all to their feet with a first round KO over Rafael Natal. For the first couple minutes of the fight, Natal kept Kennedy from getting comfortable by switching his stance and landing glancing but persistent punches and kicks.
Kennedy then pounced on Natal with a leaping left hook that knocked the Brazilian down and out against the cage. Kennedy landed another shot to Natal's head before referee Herb Dean could jump in and one more after Dean had.
"I don't deserve to be here. I love you guys so much...you guys are my heroes," Kennedy told the cheering Fort Campbell crowd after his win.
Davis tops Carmouche
Alexis Davis won a unanimous decision over former bantamweight title challenger Liz Carmouche in their co-main event fight. For three rounds, Davis calmly ate up Carmouche's lead leg with kicks and clipped her repeatedly with punches to the head against the cage.
Carmouche backed up for nearly the entire fight and could seemingly only fire back one shot at a time, often with her lea right hook. Though Carmouche connected more than once, including with a shot that opened up a cut above Davis' left eye in the second, the former marine could not mount enough offense to stop her opponent's attack.
Romero KO's Markes
Yoel Romero came out moving slow in the first round of his middleweight bout against Ronny Markes but it turned out he was just warming up en route to a third round KO win. Markes took the Olympic wrestling silver medalist Romero down twice in the opening stanza but in the second, the Cuban began to move noticiably faster and found a consistent home for his straight left hand on the head of the Brazilian.
Markes fought back hard, landing his own head punches and body kicks at the end of the second and the start of the third, but Romero landed one last left punch that knocked his opponent down flat. Markes was clearly out of it but the referee allowed Romero to land two more uncontested flush punches before calling a halt to the bout.
Khabilov decisions Masvidal
Both Jorge Masvidal and Rustam Khabilov came out swinging hard in their lightweight scrap but the Russian won most exchanges by being more fluid and mobile. Late in the second round, Masvidal took Khabilov down and landed several hard elbows and punches before the Team Jackson/Winkeljohn fighter got back to his feet.
In the third round Khabilov landed a spinning wheel kick flush to the jaw of Masvidal that dropped the Floridian hard. Somehow, "Game Bred" stayed conscious and eventually worked back up to his feet and mounted his own grappling attack to survive the round.
Two judges scored the fight 30-27 and one had it 29-28, all for Khabilov.
Chiesa chokes out Smith
Michael Chiesa beat active duty Army soldier Colton Smith in an exciting two round grappling contest with a rear naked submission. Smith won the first round on the strength of two take downs and a close rear naked submission attempt on Chiesa himself.
In the second, Chiesa hit a judo throw that slammed Smith on his face hard and was the beginning of the end for the serviceman. Chiesa transitioned to Smith's back and sunk in a rear naked choke, forcing the submission.
Chiesa improved his record to 10-1 and Smith dropped to 3-3.
Follow Elias on Twitter @EliasCepeda