Hicksville’s Alptekin Ozkilic was a two-time All-American wrestler at Nassau CC, yet his striking and chin drew more attention.
He hung with noted striker John Lineker, the No. 7 ranked flyweight, for 14 minutes and 51 seconds in a back-and-forth slugfest. Those final nine seconds wouldn't tick down for Ozkilic, though.
Lineker got the better of the striking to the head and body and scored the technical knockout with nine seconds left at UFC Fight Night 45 in Atlantic City.
"I felt like I was going to get the decision," said Ozkilic (9-3, 1-2 UFC). "I was not out, but he stopped the fight. I was blocking a lot of his punches and we were boxing. I was never really hurt. It happens."
Ozkilic, in his first fight under trainer Keith Trimble at Bellmore Kickboxing Academy, showed a level of grit and toughness that impressed most onlookers. But he was unable to hit most of his takedown attempts, where he figured to have the advantage on the ground with his wrestling pedigree.
In the first round, Ozkilic did get a takedown and used it to gain enough of an advantage to win the round on two of the three judges' scorecards. Lineker (24-7, 5-2) won the second round on all cards and had the better of the striking in the third round before finishing Ozkilic.
“He liked to play my game and that let me go for the striking and the exchange," Lineker said. "I found the right openings at the right time and that enabled me to get the knockout."