It wasn’t the 30th birthday party Brandon Thatch wanted, but Iceland’s Gunnar Nelson was happy to get back in the win column after suffering the first loss of his career last October, submitting Denver’s Thatch in the first round of their welterweight bout.
“I’m usually confident when it goes to the ground that it’s going to be a finish,” Nelson, who lost a decision to Rick Story in his last bout, said. “It wasn’t different this time.”
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Nelson held his own with Thatch while standing as the bout opened, though most would have assumed that this wasn’t the right course of action with the Colorado KO artist. But with less than two minutes gone, a vicious left-right by Nelson shot through the guard of Thatch and sent him hard to the mat. Nelson, a world-class jiu-jitsu black belt, was now in his world, and after patiently working for position, “Gunni” sunk in a rear naked choke, forcing Thatch to tap out at the 2:54 mark of the opening round.
Nelson moves to 14-1-1 with the win; Thatch falls to 11-3.