Cody Rice won his match at AFC 69 in a hard fought bout against submission threat Ryan Ayay.
Rice came out to Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” and did a little dance for the fans before entering the cage.
After showcasing his boxing skills early and avoiding Ayay’s submission attempts, he nearly landed an omaplata towards the end of the 1st.
In the 2nd round Rice landed powerful uppercuts and displayed excellent dirty boxing off the clinch. He connected with some hard knees to Ayay’s head, midsection, and legs.
Rice then got a takedown and began dropping elbows from the top. “Bounce his head like a basketball,” his corner instructed.
After a few additional elbows and hard punches the referee jumped in to stop fight at 2:15 of the 2nd round.
“I want that belt,” Rice said in his post-fight interview. “This is my cage.”
I spoke to the rising star on what appeared to be a drained condition leading up to the fight.
Did weight cutting affect your energy level in this fight? Yes, the weight cut was difficult for me. I didn’t do it right or in a healthy way.
How was your training leading in? The last week I worked hard on ground defence and shot blocks. My hands are nearly there.
Your Greatland team seemed to really get behind you. How has that helped you? Yeah, my team has my back and knows how to get me in a killer mode. I have to especially thank “Naptime” Nic Herron-Webb for my ground help and coach Matt Stout for keeping my head straight.
You went with “Smooth Criminal.” How do you think that went over? I think people liked it and I was digging it. To me the walk down gets you in the right mindset. If you have fun on your way out you’ll have fun in the cage, and that’s what it’s all about.
How concerned were you about his submissions? I knew he was a ground guy and so I just stayed calm and used what I learned in training. I had good ground control during the fight and was able to stand back up, once again thanks to “Naptime.”
You almost secured an omaplata. How close was it? It was close. I went for the armbar and it didn’t work so I switched to the omaplata. It didn’t sink probably because I’m not that developed yet on the ground.
Your boxing looked good, especially in close range. Is this something you worked on? I always train my boxing. It’s my favorite thing to do. I’m a striker that loves to bang and that will never change.
Was it elbows or punches that hurt him most? I think the punches hurt more because the elbows were landing mostly on his hands even though his head was bouncing off the mat. I think he underestimated my hands and that wasn’t a good idea. Other than that he was strong in the clinch and on the ground. And he had a hell of a chin.
What are your thoughts on his efforts? He earned my respect to say the least but at the same time I expected more from him with the way he was talking and my bad weight cut. He could have beat me but I guess I wanted it more.
Are you ready for a title shot? I think I’m ready. I won four straight in five months and I’m getting better every time. I know my division is stacked and my shot will come when it’s supposed to. I’m not in a rush. I’m not going anywhere. Like I said that’s my cage.
Any final words for your supporters? To my supporters thanks for coming out to watch me and cheer me on. I feed off of it on my way down the ramp. It’s my fuel. I want to ask one thing from you guys. When I’m on the mic and say what time is it, yell GAMETIME! I want that to ring bells all over the state. Thanks again and keep coming out.