Koch on ‘Cloud 9’ Following ‘Knockout of the Night’ at UFC 128

By Mike Whitman Mar 19, 2011
World Extreme Cagefighting import Erik Koch made a strong statement in his first trip to the Octagon, earning “Knockout of the Night” honors with a first-round demolition of Raphael Assuncao at UFC 128.

“I’m feeling great. That was the perfect way to [make] my UFC debut,” the Roufusport featherweight said in a post-fight interview on UFC.com after his victory in the show’s opener at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. “Just setting the night off right like that... I’m on cloud nine right now. I’m still kind of in shock.”

According to Koch (Pictured; file photo), Assuncao provided a surprise when the Brazilian disregarded Koch’s length and failed to close the distance in the early going.

“The game plan was just to feel him out. I thought he was going to come out and rush me a little bit more, but he was actually trying to play the range game and kick me. It caught me off guard,” said Koch. “He threw a couple of body kicks and I was kind of thrown off, but I felt that his timing, his movement and his speed were kind of off. He was missing me by a mile and I knew that I would catch him with a counter.”

And catch him Koch did. As Assuncao finally rushed forward, “New Breed” countered with a beautiful right hook that knocked the Brazilian stiff at 2:32 of the first frame and earned Koch an extra $70,000 in bonus pay.

“It’s the southpaw jinx, man. It’s that overturned hook. It’s not a big, looping hook. It’s just right over [the top] with a little snap of the wrist at the end,” Koch explained. “You watch Anderson Silva against Forrest Griffin and it’s the exact same thing. It doesn’t take much. With these little gloves, that’s all it takes.”

The strike Koch used to finish the fight did not land by accident. Rather, the 22-year-old said, the technique was honed through practice under the tutelage of noted coach Duke Roufus.

“I’ve been working that for months,” said Koch. “That’s actually the No. 1 punch that I’ve been working on, and it’s been working in training like crazy, so it worked out perfect tonight.”

With regard to whom he would like to fight next, Koch hinted at two possibilities for the future.

“I hear that Dustin Poirier is talking a lot of crap. I’m a gamer, so I’ll fight whoever. I want a title shot, so there’s still a lot of people out there I’d like to fight,” Koch said. “I’d still like to fight Cub [Swanson], because I was supposed to fight him [at UFC Live 3], but Dustin has been talking crap, so let's do it.”
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