At Saturday’s UFC Sydney (Sunday local time), Canada’s Elias Theodoreau unleashed an incredible amount of kicks both high and low en route to a decision victory over Dan Kelly.
TUF: Nations winner Elias Theodoreau came into UFC Fight Night 121 off a loss to Brad Tavares that snapped a two-fight winning streak. Looking to get back on track down under, he was set to face off against Dad Bod God Dan Kelly. Kelly was also stepping back into the cage after a loss, in his case to Derek Brunson. That loss was suffered in New Zealand, and saw Kelly’s feel-good four-fight win streak come to an end.
Kelly, like Theodoreau, appeared on 2014’s The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia. However, the pair never shared the cage during their time on the show.
Who would return to the win column at UFC Sydney?
The Canadian went right after the lead leg of Dan Kelly with kicks early. He would mix up the levels of his kicks, but get caught with a short punch off of one about ninety seconds in. Kelly would pepper Theordoreau with punches following that, but the Canadian recovered and nearly took Kelly’s leg out from under him. The active first round saw Theodoreau continue the kicking attack from all angles, and fight his way out of any clinch that arose with Kelly, keeping the Australian at range.
The kick-heavy attack continued for Elias Theodoreau in round two, while Kelly’s best moments came from dirty boxing in the clinch. Kelly would finally get the crowd fired up with a trip with just under two minutes gone from the round, but Theodoreau was quickly back to his feet. A low blow landed on Kelly briefly paused the action; back underway, the Canadian continued to chop away at Kelly like a lumberjack. Kelly would land a solid uppercut off a clinch, but Theodoreau would then land three unanswered head kicks, which appeared only partially blocked in some cases. Another head kick by Elias Theodoreau would graze Kelly towards the end of the round, taking the middleweights to a third and final frame.
The big question heading into round three would become conditioning, as Theodoreau appeared to be tiring. The Canadian launched several hard kicks at the bandaged lead leg of Kelly, who was visibly limping early in the round. Kelly would manage to clip his opponent, but Theordoreau clearly had him wounded. Kelly would then manage to take Theordoreau down and take the back, sinking in rear-naked choke. The Canadian would control the wrist of Kelly and give the thumbs up to the ref, fighting the choke off and winding up on top. Kelly worked back to his feet; that was the closest the bout had come to a finish. With half a round remaining, could Kelly come close again? In the end, he would not, as Theodoreau continued chopping away at the Australian right up to the buzzer. Head kicks, leg kicks, and kicks to the midsection were just too much for Kelly to overcome.
Elias Theodoreau def. Dan Kelly by unanimous decision (30-28, 30-27, 30-26)