Alternating wins and losses in his last couple of fights, UFC Vegas 34 bantamweight Brian Kelleher was looking to get back in the winner’s circle against Domingo Pilarte.
Pilarte, meanwhile, was in search of his first win inside the octagon, after a loss in his debut and a no-contest (originally a KO loss) in his follow-up fight.
In the end, “Boom” got back in business on Saturday.
Both fighters took the center of the octagon after a glove touch, and Pilarte immediately fired off a head kick. Kelleher blocked the head kick and went for a takedown, which he landed. Kelleher was in Pilarte’s guard and landed a nasty elbow. Pilarte tried to throw up a triangle, but Kelleher evaded. Kelleher landed some ground and pound going to the body and head. Pilarte threw up an arm-bar attempt and ate a left hand. Kelleher postured up and landed a few punches, and went back into the Pilarte’s guard. With one minute left in the round, Kelleher continued to land some really nasty ground pound. The round ended with Pilarte eating another elbow.
Round two started with Kelleher walking down Pilarte. Pilarte tried for a hook, and Kelleher landed another takedown. Kelleher continued with his ground and pound. With just over half the round left, action had slowed to a crawl other than a few short punches from Kelleher. Kelleher passed and then jumped for a guillotine. Pilarte escaped. Another guillotine attempt from Kelleher, but nothing was doing. Pilarte landed a heavy elbow on Kelleher. Kelleher reversed Pilarte and ended up on top to end round two.
The fighters hugged to start round three. Kelleher immediately shot for another takedown and picked up Pilarte, walking him to his corner. Kelleher slammed him down and went back into Pilarte’s guard. Kelleher landed short ground and pound for about three minutes. “Boo” landed some short elbows. Down to 30 seconds left in the fight, and Kelleher started to pick up the action, but they’d go to the scorecards. There were no surprises there.
The win was a dominant performance by Kelleher, who called out Sean O’Malley post-fight.
Official Result: Brian Kelleher def. Domingo Pilarte by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)