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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 20 April 2021
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Debut disappointment for Ward as Alhassan scores KO in under a minute

The Irish welterweight was knocked out by a fellow debutant this evening at UFC Fight Night 99.

Charlie Ward in action against Abdul Razak Alhassan Source: Presseye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

THERE WAS NO dream UFC debut for Charlie Ward (3-2) at UFC Fight Night 99 in Belfast.

The Irish welterweight, who represents Straight Blast Gym, suffered a first-round knockout loss against the undefeated Abdul Razak Alhassan (7-0) in the opening bout of this evening’s card at the SSE Arena.

With SBG head coach John Kavanagh in his corner and team-mate Conor McGregor in the crowd, Ward’s first appearance in the octagon lasted just 53 seconds.

The fighters came out swinging from the very beginning of the bout but Alhassan displayed more precise striking than his 35-year-old opponent.

Alhassan dropped Ward with a big uppercut but the Portlaoise native was able to recover and return to his feet. However, it wasn’t long until Alhassan’s right hand sent Ward back to the canvas.

He landed a powerful right hook which left Ward unsteady on his feet, before connecting again to knock his opponent down, at which point referee Marc Goddard had seen enough.

“I was surprised,” said Alhassan, who hails from Ghana. “I really thought he was going to be down after the first punch, but then he woke up and I was like, ‘What is going on?’

“He threw some big punches too. He didn’t hit me with his fist, but rather the back of his palm right in the back of the head and I was like, ‘I can’t believe he still has this much power after me hitting him so hard.’

“So I decided to take my time so I could measure and I could really hit him really hard. The key to my power and striking is my African genes, I guess.”

“Judo has always been my background, it was the first martial art I ever did. My dream was to be able to go to the Olympics, but I didn’t achieve that because I didn’t have the income for it.

“That’s when my coach picked me up and had me start kickboxing. It wasn’t by choice, but by God’s grace I’m here. I don’t like to call people out, so I’m ready for whoever they give me.”

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Paul Dollery

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