KENT Kauppinen catapulted himself back into MMA welterweight title contention following a brutal submission victory over Andy Manzolo at Wembley Arena last weekend.

The 27-year-old Chippenham man threw a series of damaging leg kicks to the Estonian’s right leg before pinning his opponent down and forcing a tap-out victory with a forearm to the neck at the Bellator London show.

Achieved inside four minutes, Kauppinen made a fighter who holds a black belt in Jujitsu crumble inside the octagon with an intelligent and perfectly-executed game plan.

The Chippenham fighter – who strode into the ring accompanied by brother Kris’ cover of the Bee Gees’ ‘Staying Alive’ – said Manzolo was beaten mentally as much as physically before tapping out on Saturday.

Kauppinen said: “Firstly, it was amazing to share this experience with my brother.

“But it wasn’t just the fact that I won, it was the fact that I broke a man down to the point that I made him quit.

“Psychologically, I destroyed him.

“The choke that I put on him was a good choke, but he probably thought: ‘I can get out of this, stand back up and take more punishment or I can just accept that this was enough for me.’

“It wasn’t enough to end the fight.

“Anyone who wanted to get back up would have been able to stop that choke, but he obviously did not want to carry on.”

Following his straightforward victory, Kauppinen had thought he would be fighting on the undercard of another Bellator title show in Dublin’s 3 Arena in February.

However, due to the one-sided nature of his previous bout, company bosses told the 27-year-old he is in line to headline a different show in the early stages of next year.

Kauppinen said: “Because of how dominant my victory was, Bellator are going to look at matching me with someone who is quite high calibre again.

“That’s good for me because it means I will be fighting high-quality opponents at the top of a bill again.

“I’m over the moon to be in this position and it shows how far my team and I have come.

“I’ve had so much fan support after this one, and things are really starting to take shape in that respect.

“That’s amazing because that’s what I want.

“I want to kick on now because there is a chance a win in my next fight could push me on to a title fight.”