Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
“The Alpha Ginger” Spike Carlyle made quite the impression in his first octagon bout.
Carlyle steamrolled fellow newcomer Aalon Cruz in the second preliminary-card bout of the night, earning a TKO at the 1:25 mark of the opening frame. But he also briefly faced questions about the legality of a strike that set the end in motion.
A head kick rocked Cruz early, leading to a clinch where Carlyle used a sideways elbow that appeared close to the area that’s considered back of the head. Carlyle pounced and reigned down strikes until the referee stepped in to stop the bout.
Check out the finish.
— UFC (@ufc) February 29, 2020
Elbows that make contact with the back portion of the head are generally legal if they have an arc and also make contact with the ear. The area that’s considered illegal starts at the crown of the head and runs directly down to the base of the skull with a one-inch variance on either side. With the angle of the video, it appeared the strike made contact with the ear as well as the side of the head.
UFC commentator Michael Bisping initially called Carlyle’s elbow “probably illegal,” but then changed his mind upon viewing the replay.
“Either way, he got the job done,” Bisping said.
Carlyle now has won his past five fights including four stoppages. Cruz, a Contender Series vet, sees a four-fight streak snapped.
An ampled Carlyle called his performance a “187 on the 666.”