The world was ready for Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Smith to pull out a UFC classic but the co-main event in Stockholm has produced a devastating blow.
The fight between Jimi Manuwa and Aleksandar Rakic was promoted to the co-main event after Ilir Latifi and Volkan Oezdemir’s was cancelled after Latifi suffered a back injury.
But Rakic didn’t disappoint, stunning the world with a 45 second knockout on the back of a savage head kick.
WATCH IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.
The commentators were blown aways, raving about the “unbelievable” KO.
“That’s one of the most vicious knockouts I’ve ever seen live,” UFC legend Michael Bisping said in commentary.
It was Rakic’s 12th straight and fourth in a row in the UFC and earned him $50,000 with the Austrian claiming one of four “performance of the night” bonuses.
It could go further with the moment also set to be a “knockout of the year” contender with the savage moment lighting up social media.
What a finish from Rakic.Source:FOX SPORTS
The 27-year-old Austrian lightweight was pumped after the win, shooshing the crowd and performing sleeping gestures.
But he agreed he wasn’t yet ready to fight for the title.
“I think to fight for the title, I need a couple more fights,” Rakic said at the UFC Stockholm post-fight press conference. “I need to improve all my skills. Because to take a title fight against Jon Jones or someone else, it’s hard. You have to be prepared not 100%. You have to be prepared 200%. And I’m 27 years old. I don’t want to rush. I have plenty of time. And you see, after every fight in the UFC, I’m getting better and better. And I don’t want to rush.”
Post-fight, Rakic said he was ready for a long career and assured fans he was just getting started.
“My time will come, and you have to remember my name,” Rakic said. “Remember my name, because I am the new dog in the park.
“I beat Jimi, he is ranked No. 11 (at light heavyweight) so I deserve a chance to get his place. There are just a few guys in front of me in the rankings.”
It made pros from across the world stand up and take notice.
Oh my word. Aleksandar Rakic with a devastating left head kick knockout of Jimi Manuwa at UFC Stockholm. Clean and violent. Finishing off a combination. Hope Manuwa is alright. Rakic is a beast. Look out for him in the light heavyweight division. https://t.co/mumIuPhMTH
Holy shit that was beautifully set up and so vicious #UFCStockholm
That left head kick was scary! Brutal KO by Rakic. ?? I hope Manuwa is ok. #UFCStockholm
Mann that ko was brutal , hope Manuwa is ok
What a vicious knockout!! I would love to see him vs Johnnie Walker next!! @ufc
That KO of Manuwa was one of the worst head bouncing off of canvas falls I’ve ever seen! That hard on the back of the head after the lights are already out is not good at all. Hope he’s ok. #UFCstockholm
That was brutal #UFCStockholm
‘GO KICK A**’: JONES MESSAGE TO RETIRING STAR
Anthony Smith’s win over Alexander Gustafsson has seemingly ended the career of the big Swede with the star seemingly throwing in the towel on his career.
In a tight fight between the two, Gustafsson, who had lost his previous fight to Jon Jones at UFC 232.
Post-fight, Gustafsson took his gloves off after the fight and declared “the show is over”.
“I’m feeling that it’s pretty much a done deal,” Gustafsson said during the post-fight press conference. “If you don’t feel you have it in you anymore then it is what it is. I had three title fights and, like I said, it’s been a great journey. This is it.
Alexander Gustafsson was ended by Anthony Smith.Source:AFP
“I feel like I don’t do this for money or because of anything else. I do this because I want to be the best and beat the best and if I can’t do that then it is what it is. I lost to Jon and that was the third title fight and I felt like because I got a little bit of an injury in that fight and I didn’t get to show my capacity. So I had some hope in me still and I felt this Anthony Smith fight would be a great comeback and start climbing again. But now I lose to Anthony too. It feels like I don’t have it in me anymore. It’s like a confirmation to myself because I lost my three title fights.”
Jones, who knocked Gustafsson out twice in his decade long career in the UFC, said he couldn’t believe the star had retired.
Honestly I don’t believe you but if you’re serious, thank you for everything. You held the division to a standard and made us better. Go kick ass with that Family.
Dana White led the tributes.
Thank you @AlexTheMauler pic.twitter.com/yYjISUnnE7
Congrats on a magnificent career @AlexTheMauler Incredible fighter and a true gentleman.
Congrats to @AlexTheMauler on an amazing career! Hate to see him bow out but have to respect when a fighter is no longer willing to make that walk. One of the greatest in and outside of the cage, he’ll be missed in the Ufc.
UFC SAVAGERY ACROSS THE CARD
There were four $50,000 “performance of the night” honours bestowed upon fighters from the event, which started early.
The last three fights had classic finishes with Makwan Amirkhani defeat Chris Fishgold with an anaconda choke.
But the night really got started on the back of Leonardo Santos’ decisive finish.
With nearly 1000 days between fights, Santos well and truly delivered with a savage walk off punch.
Leonardo Santos is an absolute savage #UFCStockholm pic.twitter.com/VIqQCtW9X5
He then left the cage and ran back stage before they dragged him back out.
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Anthony Smith defeated Alexander Gustafsson via submission (rear naked choke) — 2:38, round 4
Aleksandar Rakic defeated Jimi Manuwa via KO (head kick) at 0:42 of Round One
Makwan Amirkhani defeated Chris Fishgold via submission (anaconda choke) — 4:25, Round 2
Christos Giagos defeated Damir Hadzovic via unanimous decision (29-27 x2, 29-28)
Daniel Teymur defeated Sung Bin Jo via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
Sergey Khandozhko defeated Rostem Akman via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Lina Lansberg defeated Tonya Evinger via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
Leonardo Santos defeated Stevie Ray via KO (punch) — 2:17, Round 1
Frank Camacho defeated Nick Hein via TKO (punches) — 4:56, Round 2
Bea Malecki defeated Eduarda Santana via submission (rear naked choke) — 1:59, Round 2
Devin Clark defeated Darko Stosic via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Joel Alvarez defeated Danilo Belluardo via TKO (punches and elbows) — 2:22, Round 2
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