Filling in on five days’ notice and fighting up a weight class, Vancouver’s Tristan Connelly thrilled his hometown fans with a Rocky-esque performance in upsetting Brazilian welterweight Michel Pereira.
Scores were 29-28 and 29-27 twice for Connelly, now 14-6. Para’s Pereira falls to 23-10, 2 NC.
After dancing on the way to the Octagon and in it while being introduced, Pereira kept the energy high in the opening stages of the fight, but Connelly dodged his foe’s flashy moves and tried to implement his game. Pereira kept the heat on, just missing with some flying knees before getting a takedown. A flip was followed by a guillotine choke attempt, but again, Connelly stayed out of trouble and nearly sunk in his own guillotine before the horn sounded.
Fatigue rapidly set in on Pereira, who missed weight at 172 pounds, and Connelly sensed it as he marched forward in the second round and pressured the Brazilian. With a little over two minutes left, Pereira got a takedown, and while he kept Connelly grounded, it appeared to be more of a move to get his wind back than to score.
Seeking another takedown to open the third, Pereira almost got caught in a guillotine choke by Connelly, and while he escaped, it was clear that his gas tank was now empty. Connelly got the fight back to the mat in the second minute and went to work, grounding and pounding his way to the victory on the scorecards.