Slam knockouts are an infrequent occurence in UFC competition.
So infrequent, in fact, that there have been just 12 in the history of the Las Vegas-based promotion after Jordan Leavitt knocked Matt Wiman unconscious with a slam just 22 seconds into the opening round of their lightweight clash at UFC on ESPN 19. It was certainly a memorable way to make an Octagon debut for the recent Dana White’s Contender Series competitor.
“It’s crazy. I’ve never removed anybody from their consciousness before in a fight, that’s my first time,” Leavitt said. “Honestly it’s a little bit anticlimactic. I’ve been waiting for this for 10 years and then it’s over very quickly, but definitely really happy.”
Leavitt’s finish was beautifully executed. The Syndicate MMA product changed levels for a double-leg takedown, lifted his opponent off the canvas and then carried him across the Octagon to his corner. From there, Leavitt framed Wiman’s neck with his left arm and powered him to the mat. Wiman was instantly unconscious, and Leavitt didn’t need any follow-up strikes to secure his first UFC victory.
It was a moment that proved to be simulateously exhilarating and sobering.
“I never want to lose. Losing means a smaller paycheck, it means less stability for me and my family, so I definitely wasn’t coming out here to lose — but never wanted to hurt an opponent, never want to crush them or affect their livelihood and their lives, so it’s a lot of mixed feelings,” Leavitt said. “I’ve looked up to Matt since I was like 14, 15. I feel like a lot of the tactics he used were maybe t10 years ahead of the game and I’m happy to get a win over him and I really hope he recovers and heals up well.”
Despite the violent nature of the fight, Leavitt claims that isn’t typically the type of image he wants to project as his UFC tenure progresses. It just turns out that on Saturday night, he took advantage of an opportunity that was presented to him.
“My style is definitely an exhibition of the gentle art, not a lot of that brutish nonsense that I just did I guess,” he said. “Usually you will see me do a lot more relaxed, flowy jiu-jitsu; nice, harmless front kicks, but today I hit him with the earth. Sometimes that’s what happens.”
Leavitt has made the most of a difficult year, compiling a 4-0 record that culminated with a UFC debut that will leave a lasting impression on the MMA community.
“I somehow found a way to have four fights this year even though five of these months were of complete lockdown. I’m super blessed,” Leavitt said. “My wife got pregnant and I have a baby girl on the way, got my UFC contract and life is just looking up. I have nothing to complain about.”