The UFC made its debut appearance in Utica, New York on Friday evening with a bantamweight showdown between Jimmie Rivera (21-2) and Marlon Moraes (21-5-1) headlining the show. The card also introduced a new “Prospect” to the bantamweight division as the UK’s own Nathaniel “The Prospect” Wood (14-3) made his promotional debut, in the process picking up a $50,000 performance of the night bonus.
Wood, the former Cage Warriors bantamweight champion, squared off against 40 fight veteran Johnny Eduardo (28-12), dispatching of the Brazilian via D’arce choke in round 2.
In typical Wood fashion, he had to face some adversity early on in the fight to kickstart the fire inside him and pull off the impressive come from behind win. Eduardo landed some big shots on Wood in the first round whilst he was backed up against the fence, appearing to break his nose in the process. Despite appearing stunned, Wood managed to see the round out and regather his thoughts in between rounds with coach Brad Pickett.
As the second round kicked off Wood immediately looked more settled in the stand-up exchanges leading to Eduardo shooting for the takedown. Wood showed his impressive takedown defence to sprawl, control the posture of his opponent and sink in the choke leading to the tap. Despite being bruised and bloodied, Wood’s UFC debut ended in success, in the process of recording his 6th straight win and picking up the $50,000 bonus.
With his entertaining and never say die style, MMA fans will be eager to see “The Prospect” back in action sooner rather than later. Wood looks a fantastic addition to the bantamweight roster and as his nickname suggests he is most definitely a “prospect” in the division.