There’s no more reason to doubt UFC newcomer Lando Vannata.
The 24-year-old made his Octagon debut as a late notice replacement against Tony Ferguson earlier this year, and ended up giving ‘El Cucuy’ one of the toughest fights of his career.
Vannata brought it to Ferguson from the opening bell and almost finished the fight, but was ultimately stopped via D’Arce choke in the second round. Many began to speculate whether Ferguson took him lightly or Vannata almost pulled off a fluke, but those questions were buried at UFC 206.
“Not just (to) the rest of the division, but the entire world,” Vannata said at a post-fight media scrum, per MMA Junkie. “Everybody wanted to know if I was the real deal, if I was fluke, and I think that performance right there just proved it.”
Vannata, who made his MMA debut in 2012, sparked out John Makdessi with a spectacular spinning heel hook in the first round and the finish instantly sent flashbacks of Edson Barboza’s similar KO against Terry Etim at UFC 142.
Barboza, 30, crumpled Liverpool’s Etim with the same spinning kick, but Vannata thinks he topped it at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre in Ontario.
“(Mine) tops it,” Vannata said with confidence.
“(It feels) (expletive) spectacular, man,” Vannata. “It doesn’t top that, right there. That’s awesome. That guy’s never been knocked out, to knock him out like that is just top notch.”
There will surely be debate as to which KO was more impressive, but there is no debating Vannata’s legitimacy as a lightweight contender or his ability to pull off highlight reel knockouts.