Highlight-reel knockout artist Khama Worthy found himself on the business end of one for the second straight fight on Saturday following a spectacular first-round knockout at UFC 260.
Lightweight Jamie Mullarkey (13-4), a native of Australia, snapped a two-fight losing skid when he finished off Worthy (16-8) at 46 seconds of the opening round in their pay-per-view main card opener inside the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
After rushing forward with a lead right hand feint that broke the defensive rhythm of Worthy and caused him to back pedal, the 26-year-old Mullarkey exploded forward with a left hook that caught Worthy flush and dropped him. Mullarkey leaped in to land a pair of short right hands on the ground, prompting referee Chris Tognoni to jump in and stop the fight.
"It feels unbelievable. We worked so hard for this fight," Mullarkey said. "I'm just glad I got to showcase my skills."
The victory was the first for Mullarkey under the UFC banner after dropping consecutive decisions to Brad Riddell and Fares Ziam. Mullarkey trained with UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski for this fight and scored the biggest win of his career.
"It wasn't meant to be the last time," Mullarkey said. "I'm glad I had an opponent that would actually come and fight this time. Khama is game and be brought the best out of me.
"[The finish] is a shout out to [former UFC fighter] Ross Pearson, my man back home. Boxing on the inside is his game. It never did feel like I even hit him hard enough but I saw his eyes wobble as he went down and I got the finish."
There was a bit of a scare early in the week when two of the fighters from Australia were pulled from fights due to COVID-19 protocols. Mullarkey knew he was worried, but didn't let it affect his preparation.
"When Brad's [Riddell] fight got pulled the morning of his fight, then Alex's [Volkanovski] fight got pulled, it just added that little bit more of motivation for me to get the job done. It fired me up," Mullarkey said.
"I want to get back in there as soon as possible. I've got some time to make up for. I got put out for a year with an injury and 2020 locked at the start. I've got some time to make up for. Maybe when Alex comes to defend his belt next maybe I come back. I feel good."
The 34-year-old Worthy suffered a second straight defeat to further mute the buzz he created over the past two years as an exciting knockout threat. Worthy, who was stopped by Ottman Azaitar in September, had won his previous seven fights before that including stoppage wins in his first two UFC bouts against Devonte Smith and Luis Pena.