Featured Image credit: Jimmy Range Photography; Courtesy of Shamrock FC
Erion Zekthi improved to 6-1 with a knockout win over Justin King just 68 seconds into the fight at Shamrock FC 333 on Saturday, Oct. 23. Zekthi and King met in a featherweight main event at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Missouri. King fell to 7-8 with the loss.
Zekthi connected on a head kick, which King caught. A flurry from Zekthi, culminating in a heavy right hand, put King down on the ground. A couple of hammer fists appeared to make King go out as the referee stepped in.
“The Albanian One” predicted he would score a first-round knockout against King, saying he wanted the “oh shit moment.” He got it, as he put King away on one leg.
Zekthi didn’t know he was going to finish King during the flurry, he said.
“I thought to myself, ‘I don’t to grapple with you. I just don’t want to grapple. I’m going to keep punching you until you take me down, and after you take me down, I’m going to get up. But before you take me down, I’m going to hit you as hard as I can.’ And luckily for me, as hard as I can was hard enough,” Zekthi told MMASucka after his win.
For Zekthi, it was his first career knockout in his professional career. He wanted to prove a point that he could earn a finish in the stand-up department.
“It was funny, because I pride myself on telling people ‘don’t force things in fights. Take what’s given.’ My problem has always been that I’m too methodical,” he said. “I’ve been so worried about giving people even instances of putting an attack on me that I was kind of afraid to pull the trigger myself. I didn’t want them to have any piece of the fight where they were on offense or where they felt like they could win the fight. It prevented me from letting loose a little bit. This fight, I told myself, ‘just be dangerous everywhere.’ That’s all I needed to do and I will find a way to win. It presented itself in 1:08. I know how dangerous I am. I know how dangerous I am from training. I know that I am a dangerous man both on the ground with my submissions and ground and pound, and on my feet. Now, it’s time to show everybody else that. Everyone I train with, they know it. But I need the general populace to know it, and I think last night was a good first step in that direction.”
Zekthi normally competes at bantamweight but accepted a featherweight bout against King.
With UFC aspirations in mind, Zekthi feels he needs one or two more wins to get there. He believes Shamrock FC wants to put together a bantamweight title fight in December, but Zekthi said he would only pick up the phone for the UFC or Bellator. The earliest Zekthi said he would compete for a Shamrock FC belt is in February. But when he returns, he plans to be active.
“I have a season,” he said. “I like to take the holidays off. I don’t like to fight November through January. Make no mistake: Next year I told people that I’m going to be in the UFC. I’m going to be in the UFC. I’m just going to line them up; as many fights as I can get until I get the fucking call.”