There’s stiff competition early for the UFC FIGHT PASS KO of the Year, and a budding rivalry has evolved as a result.
Paul Capaldo of Cage Fury FC shook the sports world with his wheel kick in air-tight quarters. Not only did he have the performance of his lifetime, he had the second best performance of the entire day according to the worldwide leader in sports, ESPN.
The reception to one of the most aesthetically pleasing knockouts of the year was so resounding, Capaldo lifted his own rule about staying off of his phone until long after the fight is over.
“I just got a new number so my phone didn’t go that crazy, but I still tried to stay off of it. But then my grandpa called me up and said, ‘You’re not going to believe this but you’re on Sports Center,’” Capaldo said. “One of my cousins sent it to them. I started watching it blow up.”
Capaldo’s KO landed at number 2 on one of the most coveted countdowns in the world of sports, Sports Center’s Top Ten Countdown. Most regional fighters would mail the next few weeks in after accomplishing such a feat, but ESPN put a half-hearted chip on Capaldo’s shoulder.
“I was pissed too,” Capaldo exclaimed. “The number one, the top play, was a home run, I think. One of the announcers actually said, ‘This should be number one’ when they were showing mine. It was like a home run or something. Some typical crap that they see every single week. I should have had that.”
ESPN isn’t the only person adding to the chip on Capaldo’s shoulder. Lion Fight champion and a fellow frontrunner for FIGHT PASS KO of the Year, Steve Walker, is still currently brushing his shoulders off from his tornado kick KO that froze the whole combat sports world.
Walker agrees with aspects of Capaldo’s argument for KO of the Year such as, Sports Center countdown and MMA vs Muay Thai, but light-heartedly offers some ammo of his own.
“I didn’t make the Top Ten but mine went to a bunch of different platforms from World Star to Tik Tok,” Walker laughed. “His didn’t go on Tik Tok! They turned mine into a dance move. Now all the break dancers are doing it. I think me and him are going to have a nice competition; he made Top Ten and my tornado kick is considered a dance now. We might have to leave it up to the people.”
Walker has two fights booked at the moment for Lion Fight. One to close out May and the other in August. Feeling the pressure of Capaldo on his heels, he laughs that he now has multiple goals going into his next fight. Now it’s more than just getting the finish, he has to try and top number 2 on ESPN, as well.
If both men go KO for KO until the end of the year, it seemingly favors Capaldo, who will now know what to build off of.
With plenty on his plate and a FIGHT PASS KO of the Year, Capaldo could possibly benefit more than anybody if his next fight results in an end of the year award. CFFC is a gigantic opportunity for the 24-year-old, but with his most recent finish, he’s hoping for a spot on the upcoming season of Dana White’s Contender Series. If Dana isn’t calling, it’s a CFFC title shot for the surging prospect. No matter where he goes, though, he has a new fan who is thrilled to go toe-to-toe with him.
“I definitely want to get in contact and give him a shirt,” Walker explained excitedly. “If you’re out there, Paul, I hope you like black because I got a shirt for you.”
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