Taekwondo Olympian wins UFC debut by KO in just 18-seconds

In a breathtaking display of skill and power, Olympic bronze medalist Robelis Despaigne marked his UFC debut with a lightning-fast knockout victory in a mere 18 seconds. He is an impressive 6ft 7 in tall and weighs nearly 120kg.

At 35 years old, Despaigne secured a bronze medal in taekwondo at the 2012 London Olympics. He has now seamlessly transitioned into an unbeaten MMA prospect over a decade later. Despaigne’s remarkable journey culminated in a spectacular performance at UFC 299 in Miami, where he faced off against Josh Parisian.

From the first seconds of the match, Despaigne had Parisian on the defensive. A missed uppercut and a failed head kick attempt by Despaigne set the stage. Capitalizing on his opponent’s mistake, Parisian rushed forward. However, he ended up being floored by a precise three-punch combination. The match concluded moments later, solidifying Despaigne’s victorious UFC debut.

In his interview after the match, Despaigne expressed his gratitude. He stated: “I’ve had this dream since 2019 and thanks to God I’m here realising my dream, fighting at the biggest event in the world. I’m very proud, I have to thank my team and my friends. Everyone in Cuba, thank you to everyone here in Miami for the support,.”

UFC CEO Dana White recognized Despaigne’s potential and signed him after a remarkable four-second KO in December. However, this isn’t Despaigne’s quickest victory. He secured a three-second KO in September and a 12-second win in a previous bout.

Notably, Despaigne also holds the record for the longest reach on the UFC roster. He has an impressive 87 inches reach.

Aside from Despaigne’s electrifying debut, UFC 299 showcased other notable performances. Bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley successfully avenged his loss to Marlon Vera, defending his world title. O’Malley’s dominance on the feet led to a unanimous decision by the judges, with scores of 50-45, 50-45, and 50-44 in his favor.

British MMA star Michael Page lived up to the hype in his UFC debut. Page secured a unanimous decision win over Kevin Holland, fulfilling expectations that had been building for almost a decade.