Mesquite, Nev., is less than 90 miles from Las Vegas, but it’s a world away in terms of the fight game.
Still, you’ve got to start somewhere, and for Corey Conway and A.J. Leone, the CasaBlanca Casino and Resort in Mesquite was the venue for Saturday’s professional mixed martial arts debut for both bantamweights, as part of an event called Mayhem in Mesquite IV under the Tuff-N-Uff promotion.
Spelling out those details took longer than the fight did. Conway needed just five seconds to lay out Leone with a right cross on the button.
It was a spectacular debut for the 18-year-old, who competes as part of the Xtreme Couture team headed by UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. But it was not the fastest KO in MMA history. That honor would haver to go to the two-second KO scored by Ryohei Masuda after Takahiro Kuroishi charged at him at the start of their 2008 bout in Tokyo.
How do these feats compare to those on the sport’s grandest stage? Well, the fastest finish in UFC history is 6.26 seconds, the time it took Duane Ludwig to flatten Jonathan Goulet in their 2006 fight in Vegas.
That’s the record-breaking time recognized by the UFC, at least. In the annals of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which was the regulatory body in charge of the bout, the time was listed as 11 seconds. Someone apparently was slow with the stopwatch. Another UFC fighter owns an even faster KO. But when Chris Clements starched Lautaro Tucas in three seconds back in ’06, it was at a local show in Montreal in the welterweight’s pre-UFC days. -- JEFF WAGENHEIM