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New England’s Top Light-Heavyweight; William Knight prepares for second Contender Series appearance.

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

Travis Lizotte

It was no surprise to anyone when Thornton MMA’s William “Nightmare” Knight (7-1) finished atop of New England MMA’s Summer 2020 Light-Heavyweight pro ranks, perhaps the only surprise was that Knight was still fighting locally and still eligible to be ranked regionally. After an impressive third round stoppage of the slightly favored Herdem Alacabek (5-1) on the 2019 Contenders Series, Manchester, Connecticut’s Knight was awarded a UFC developmental contract by Dana White, that would allow Knight to continue to compete regionally, until the UFC came calling once again. Knight took the challenge head on; fighting three times within the next six months, picking up stoppage wins against Jamelle Jones (9-6) and Rocky Edwards (12-10-1) at CES 59 & 60 respectively, giving Knight an impressive seven knockouts in seven professional victories. With Knight’s performances at CES 59 and 60, and with the UFC announcing that there will indeed be a 2020 season of Contender Series, the UFC’s hands were tied when it came to including William Knight on the 2020 Contenders roster.

Drawing the unenviable task of lining up across from Knight on September 1st from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas is undefeated Michigan Prospect Cody Brundage (5-0). A high level collegiate wrestler; Scorpion Fighting System’s Brundage makes his Contender Series debut after just three years of MMA training, a similar story to that of William Knight, who’s “inexperience” resulted in Knight’s developmental deal rather than a UFC contract after his victory over Alacabek last August in Vegas. Brundage, who credits his wife; 6 time UFC veteran Amanda Bobby Cooper (4-5) with introducing him to the striking arts, stopped his first three professional fights with punches on his way to a title shot with Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Lights Out Championship.

In December of last year Brundage battled Michigan veteran Erick Lozano (13-15) for five rounds earning Lights Out Championship’s Middleweight strap by Unanimous Decision. Then in February at Lights Out Championship 7; Brundage and Lozano would run it back, this time for the promotion’s Light Heavyweight strap. The jump in weight didn’t seem to affect Brundage, who smothered Lozano with sharp wrestling from the opening bell, before sinking in an Arm Triangle with less than thirty seconds to go in the opening round that forced Lozano to tap. With his second professional title, in just his 5th professional fight, Brundage went from Regional Contender to National Prospect overnight, thus setting up his meeting with the vicious; William Knight.

There is no question that William Knight will be the most dangerous opponent of Brundage’s career, in both of Brundage’s title fights he relied heavily on his strength advantage over Lozano, but at 205 pounds, no one is stronger than William Knight. Knight possesses superhero-like strength is his stout, compact physique, strength that has helped Knight nullify the offense of high level wrestlers in the past. On the feet, Knight’s power translates well to both his hands and feet as he employs a solid kicking game and the quickness to close distance and land heavy hands coming forward. Although Knight has been taken down in the past, he shows the innate ability to end up in top control where he has shown some of the most brutal ground and pound in the game. A finish of the highly touted Brundage could be the final hurdle in Knight’s rise to the UFC roster, while a win for Brundage could signal the rise of the next generation of Light-Heavyweights.

William Knight vs. Cody Brundage will take place Tuesday September 7th from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will air live on ESPN+ starting at 8 pm eastern time.

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