UFC Vegas 77’s Evan Elder: Ready to Right the Wrongs

Nazim Sadykhov and Evan Elder, UFC Vegas 69
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 18: (L-R) Evan Elder punches Nazim Sadykhov of Russia in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 18, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

After a short notice debut that didn’t go his way, Evan Elder entered UFC Vegas 69 with a great training camp under his belt and loads of confidence. It showed in the cage as he battered Nazim Sadykov for each of the first two rounds. However, less than a round away from Elder’s big movement, an awkward clinch led to a massive cut opening up above his eye. The doctor’s were called in and he was left with a TKO loss in a fight he was clearly up two rounds.

Following that fight, Elder dealt with the reality of the unfortunate outcome.

“It’s definitely not anything easy to deal with. I felt like I was four and a half minutes away from getting my first win in the UFC, which is obviously a huge milestone,” Elder said. “Even now, whenever I look back and watch the fight, I feel like my heart gets ripped out of my chest when they stop the fight.”

While it’s not an easy thing to deal with, the UFC lightweight believes that everything happens for a reason and this will only help him get where he’s going.

“I’m such a firm believer in God’s plan and what he has for me that I try my best not to question what happens,” he said. “To do my best to take what’s given to me because I know ultimately that it’s going to work out the way it’s supposed to.”

An extra 50k also didn’t hurt in dealing with the circumstance. That, along with many lessons that have made him better for his upcoming fight this weekend at UFC Vegas 77.

“Later that night we got notified that we got fight of the night. Things worked out – there was a ton of good that came from that fight even though it resulted in a loss,” Elder said. “Got right back to work. Let that cut heal up and assessed what I needed to work on – the things I did good and the things I did bad. I improved a lot during this fight camp and I’m ready to right my wrongs and get my hand raised.”

Elder will look to get that elusive first UFC win against Genaro Valdez. That fight will take place during the ESPN+ prelims, which start at 7pm EST.

You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 2:23.