Kerr didn’t waste any time or bother with a feeling out process. Instead, he jumped in almost immediately with a flying knee right from the start.
“He usually comes out pretty aggressive, so instead of trying to counter his first attack, I wanted to put pressure on him,” Kerr told ProMMAnow.com.
With the knee just missing, Kerr ended up on his back with Castillo on top and transitioned to a guillotine choke attempt. Kerr is no slouch on the mat but admitted that he wanted to utilize more of his striking.
Still, Kerr kept busy and threw a variety of submission attempts at Castillo, including a tight leg lock.
“I had it pretty good and I saw him start to reach to tap once when my elbow slipped off,” Kerr said.
Of course, leg locks can also often leave you exposed to ground-and-pound, and after getting out of danger, Castillo started delivering a series of powerful blows that turned the tide.
“From there I think I got a little tunnel vision and instead of transitioning to something else I stuck with the ankle to long,” Kerr said.
A few consecutive shots to the head landed flush and Castillo picked up the knockout victory 1:25 in the first round.
Kerr said he was in great shape for the fight and didn’t feel any pressure with the show being the final WEC event before the UFC merger. Now with a 1-2 record since his Zuffa signing, Kerr hopes that his aggressiveness will allow him to make the move to the UFC.
“[I’m] just hoping my willingness to try and finish and push the pace from every angle alongside my last fight win by stoppage will shine through,” he said.