Jacksonville, FL — Featherweight Pat Sabatini finally got to make his octagon debut at UFC 261 on Saturday.
Sabatini (14-3) had been brought in to fight Rafael Alves earlier this year, only for the fight to fall through at the eleventh hour. He went the distance with Canada’s Tristan Connelly at the event Saturday — taking home a unanimous decision win.
“Just glad to get the first one of of the way for the UFC. What an experience. Fighting in front of that many people is something I’ll never forget for my entire life,” Sabatini exclaimed following the fight. Speaking during a post-fight press scrum with media outlets including Cageside Press, Sabatini noted that he even noticed the “USA, USA!” chants.
“Definitely heard that. I don’t know where that came from. I guess ’cause the guy was from Canada?”
The guy from Canada, Connelly, struggled in the early going, with Sabatini getting out to an early lead. It was a much closer fight in the third, however. “I knew he was going to come out hard, and get better as the fight went on,” Sabatini observed. “Super tough opponent, hat’s off to him, nothing but respect for the guy. True professional.”
Sabatini admitted to getting a little caught up in the moment on Saturday. Partially due to adrenaline. “First UFC fight, in front of all these fans, such a great and big card to be on — just a lot of pressure. Glad everything worked out.”
Later, he noted of the experience that “It’s one thing to talk about it, it’s another thing to be there. When I was about to walk out there, I definitely felt it. It’s one thing to see it on TV, another thing to be here.”
Watch the full UFC 261 post-fight press scrum with Pat Sabatini above.