Since turning pro last year, Cody Law has talked about his boxing skills, but through his first three MMA fights – all victories – he was unable to showcase them.
He didn’t have any problems showing them off in a featherweight bout on Friday night at Bellator 262 in Uncasville, Connecticut, as he knocked out Theodore “The Headtaker” Macuka. The Forest Hills and Pitt-Johnstown graduate unofficially landed 23 punches to zero for Macuka as he improved to 4-0-0 with three victories by KO or submission.
“That’s what I really wanted,” Law said of displaying his knockout power. “We knew at any point we could take him down and impose our will on him. I want to challenge myself.
“We know that’s the easy, obvious path to victory. It’s nice to have that, but I want to grow as a mixed martial artist and show all of you guys – show the world – that I’m not just a wrestler.”
Law has quite the wrestling pedigree.
He won a PIAA title at Forest Hills before joining the powerhouse Penn State program. He eventually transferred to Pitt-Johnstown, where he won a Division II national title. Early in his MMA career, Law has leaned on that wrestling background.
He didn’t need to on Friday night. The 26-year-old was a very heavy favorite, according to oddsmakers, to beat Macuka. Fighting in his home state, Macuka (1-1) came out aggressively. A black belt in taekwondo, he tried to land several kicks, but Law checked one 50 seconds into the fight, then followed it up with a strong right hand.
“He came out with the low kicks,” Law said. “I’m getting really good at checking those.
“I checked a couple and he stopped throwing them. The plan was to be patient, let him come, show his cards, move around and then get the kill.”
Law also landed a left kick to the head, but it was a combination of punches that staggered Macuka against the cage 1½ minutes into the fight.
“A punch must have landed that I didn’t even feel,” Law said. “I saw his eye get red and swollen. I was like, ‘I’ve got him.’ and then when I checked a kick, I knew he wasn’t throwing any more.”
Law continued to pour on the pressure before referee Kerry Hatley stepped in to stop the fight at 1:54.
“All week, I’ve been writing down first-round KO at 1 minute, 10 seconds,” Law said in his post-fight press conference. “I don’t know what that was, but that’s what I was shooting for.”
Law has been very active in the cage, notching four victories in less than nine months. He said he plans to return to Pennsylvania soon to celebrate his mother’s birthday, but wants to get back to training with American Top Team in South Florida and hopes to have another fight soon.
After the knockout, Law dodged reporters’ questions – about his lack of a nickname, moving up to the main card on Bellator promotions and possible future opponents – as easily as he avoided Macuka’s kicks.
“I’m just worried about progressing through my career, getting wins, getting cage time and getting the belt,” Law said.
“Whoever has the belt when the time comes is who I’m focused on.”