February 26, 2015 - 7:24 PM
KELOWNA – Matt Dwyer will never forget his first trip outside of Canada.
Not only did the Rutland Senior Secondary graduate score his first win in the UFC, but he did it with a rare punch that will be on highlight reels for years to come.
The move he used is called a superman punch and before last weekend, it has never ended a UFC fight.
“He went to throw a hook which left his temple wide open. I threw it as hard as I could but I didn’t expect to knock him out,” he says. “It looks like I’m the only guy that’s got a superman punch knockout in UFC history. I’m pretty stoked. It’s something that stays around on the Ultimate Knockouts.”
Dwyer, 25, who trains at Kelowna’s Toshido MMA, signed a rare four fight contract with the biggest fight promotion in the world last year. His first appearance didn’t go as planned however, because he was stopped with a vicious head kick in the first round.
“This win feels great especially coming off a tough loss,” he says. “I trained really hard for my first UFC fight and to get shut down like that sucked really bad. I had a fractured orbital and jaw so I had to wait a couple months to start striking again.”
Once recovered, Dwyer, who is now 1-1 in the UFC, signed on to fight fan-favourite William Patalino in Porto Allegre, Brazil for Fight Night 61. Dwyer, who at 6'4 is the tallest welterweight in the UFC, says Brazil has a special significance for all fighters since many consider it the birthplace of modern MMA.
As a +300 underdog, Dwyer knew he had to make this appearance count. It’s rare that a new fighter loses two fights in a row and gets welcomed back but Dwyer says he learned a lot from his first appearance in the octagon.
“I knew what to expect this time,” he says. “The first time in the UFC your head’s kind of in the clouds so this time I was a lot more grounded and focused. That was a big factor.”
His strategy was to keep moving and to turn the space between him and his opponent “into a minefield”.
“Everything we worked on just came together,” he says. “I trusted in my training and listened to my coach David Lea and it was an amazing result.”
For the first couple minutes Dwyer threw almost every strike known to MMA. From straight punches to hooks to leg kicks, body kicks and straight kicks.
“I kept using that straight kick to keep him from coming straight at me and it got to the point where all I had to do is lift my knee and his hand would drop. There was about two minutes left in the first round and I thought he expects the kick now so that leaves his head open. At the same time I could hear my coach yelling ‘the superman’s there, Matt. Superman punch!’. He saw what I saw.”
The result was a punch that has now been seen by thousands of fans around the world. It caught Patalino in the left temple and he began to stumble.
“When I landed it I really didn’t expect to knock him out with it,” he says. “He eventually went down on his face but the ref didn’t stop it so I just aimed for his gloves. I didn’t really have to hurt him anymore. He was done.”
Dwyer’s purse for the fight was $16,000 but he also got a $50,000 performance of the night bonus; money the young fighter, who works part time at A. Alimonti's Plastering and Stucco, will use to further his career.
“I’m really focused right now,” he says. “I’m not into the partying scene, I’m just determined. I’m going to try to take another fight soon. I’m healthy and I’m going to be ready to go again right away. Maybe within the next month or two.”
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015