FightPost MMA Fighter of the Week: Tristan Connelly
By Arwen Sheridan
This week the UFC was in Vancouver Canada, which is where my MMA fighter of the week also hails from.
In a week when all the talk was about Cowboy vs Gaethje, my plaudits go to the biggest underdog on the card, Tristan Connelly.
Connelly went up to welterweight to face Michel Pereira at just five days’ notice.
Having failed to make weight, Periera took an inordinate six minutes to walk to the Octagon. After which, he treated the Canadian audience to an acrobatic display that wouldn’t have been out of place in the Olympics. Despite his opponent’s early peacocking, Connelly settled into the fight well.
If you didn’t know that Connelly had had such an abbreviated camp, his performance would not have suggested it.
Connelly came into the cage ready for war and showed steely determination. He trains with Capoeira practitioners in the gym he owns, Checkmat Vancouver. Undoubtedly this helped him remain composed during round one.
The Canadian seemed to sense that if he could see round two, his opposite number would begin to tire. As the fight opened we saw Periera bouncing off the cage, spinning and flipping, leaving the commentators breathless as they tried to keep up with the action. Danial Cormier remarked “those are a lot of big actions for a guy that didn’t make weight.”
Less than one minute in, Connelly began to take control. Shrugging off flying knees, appearing both unfazed and unimpressed, eventually tying up Periera on the ground.
The underdog was clearly prepared to sacrifice the first-round if needs be, playing the long game. His confidence grew as the minutes ticked by and the crowd found their voices.
In round two the Canadian black belt really came into his own. He looked like he had Pereira hurt at the halfway point, demonstrating that he is happy to stand and bang or put in work on the ground. He showed great fight intelligence as the round closed, using the Kimura to get himself space off his back.
The third round was all Connelly with an early guillotine attempt on the exhausted Pereira. The Canadian looked fresh and showed no sign of slowing down. Successfully neutralising Periera’s offence by not giving him space to work.
Throughout the three rounds Connelly absorbed Periera’s big action and dished out plenty of his own offence. Connelly did not allow panic to set in as much of Periera’s theatrics feel short of their target.
Connelly was undersized and underprepared in comparison to his Brazilian opponent. It seems he didn’t get that memo.
Connelly didn’t seem in danger at any stage. Having Pereira grounded and out worked for much of the three rounds. All three judges scored the contest in favour of the local man.
He was also awarded a $100,000 post fight bonus. Added to this he also takes home the 20% of Periera’s purse, forfeited for failing to make weight. All in all, not a bad night at the office for Connelly.
The only thing which could have made it more perfect, would perhaps have been a finish.
Overall a very exciting fight and a serious prospect at either lightweight or welterweight.