Kenny Florian not only picked up a win over possibly his toughest opponent to date, but he also proved why he is the #1 contender for the UFC lightweight title by submitting Joe Stevenson in the first round of their fight at UFC 91.
In the early part of the fight, Florian showed his stand-up game once again by landing a few good shots on Stevenson forcing the clinch from his opponent.
Against the cage, Stevenson worked hard and eventually landed a takedown, but soon after the Boston native worked his way back to his feet, and the two fighters separated.
After another exchange it was Florian who went inside on Stevenson and landed a very good takedown, putting the wrestler on his back.
A few punches later, Florian had Stevenson mounted, and within seconds as his opponent turned to avoid heavy strikes, the former “Ultimate Fighter” season 1 competitor had his back.
Florian worked for position and then moved his arm underneath Stevenson’s chin sinking in the rear naked choke, forcing the tap out midway through the first session.
With an ever developing stand-up game, Florian once again showed his grappling pedigree by submitting another Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt in Joe Stevenson.
“I don’t really care about what anybody thinks,” Florian responded when asked if people have forgotten his ground skills. “I’m working hard every single day. While everyone else is criticizing or whatever I’m out there training. That’s all I do, that’s my life.”
Six wins in a row, and a dominant performance over Joe Stevnson have now earned Kenny Florian a shot at the lightweight championship, and after the fight B.J. Penn was given notice.
“This is exactly what I wanted. I wanted to go out here and make a statement,” Florian said. “I want B.J.’s belt. B.J. you’re one of the best fighters out there, I’m here to test myself, I think you’re a great fighter, someone I look up to. I consider you a master. It’s time to kill that master.”