Tristan Connelly would step up on one-week notice for his bout against Michel Pereira and would come out on top in one of the biggest upsets of the year.
Michel Pereira did about as well as anyone could hope in his UFC debut. The high-energy 25-year-old Brazilian KO’d Danny Roberts at UFC Rochester in his first action in the Octagon. He did so with a flying knee, which earned him a Performance of the Night bonus. The victory pushed his current streak to three consecutive wins, with everyone waiting to see if he could produce the goods again in Vancouver and make it four in a row.
British Columbia native Tristan Connelly was hoping to have a similarly stunning promotional debut. Accepting the fight with Pereira on less than a week’s notice, the 33-year-old Canadian was on a four-fight winning streak of his own. In fact, Connelly was 8-1 in his nine previous bouts ahead of UFC Vancouver. But, he came in as a heavy underdog in a tough matchup against Pereira on short-notice.
Round 1: Pereira started off the fight by throwing a variety of flying knees and flips. None of which landed, but were incredibly fun to watch.
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Connelly shot for the takedown but was quickly shrugged off. Pereira responded with a rolling thunder that landed and landed a shot to the body that hurt Connelly. Pereira followed up with a flying knee before Connelly shot for a takedown that failed. Pereira did a backflip that didn’t land, before following up with a guillotine attempt that failed. Connelly moved into the mount before Pereira shrugged him off and got back to the feet. Connelly landed a couple of nice shots before looking for submission attempts, that was where the crazy first round came to a close.
Round 2: Pereira came out looking very sluggish to start round two, he was very clearly gassed as he was throwing labored shots to the body. Connelly, on the other hand, looked fresh, throwing a variety of shots, many of which landed. He appeared to hurt Pereira and was looking for the finish, as Pereira landed a panic takedown. Pereira would stay heavy on top, and land shots to the smaller Connelly as he couldn’t get up. Pereira would end the round on top, giving him a chance to breathe heading into the third round.
Round 3: Connelly would come out and get an incredibly deep guillotine to start the third round. Pereira would explode to escape but that seemed to zap whatever gas he had left in the tank. Pereira would shoot for a takedown but Connelly would reverse and end up on top. Connelly would get cheers from the crowd as he would move into side-control. He would land the left hand repeatedly, as he looked to get the finish. Connelly would end the round on top, as he almost secured the finish.
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However, the Canadian would crowd would go crazy, as Connelly would get the win via decision.
Winner: Tristian Connelly def. Michel Pereira via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27 2x)