UFC Vegas 81: Darren Elkins Subs TJ Brown In Fight Brimming with Fun Grappling Exchanges

Darren Elkins and TJ Brown, UFC Vegas 81
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 14: (R-L) Darren Elkins punches TJ Brown in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 14, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Ahead of Saturday’s UFC Vegas 81, Darren Elkins was recognized for 50 clean tests under the UFC’s Anti-Doping program — for the moment still administered by USADA, at least until 2024. A major milestone ahead of a big featherweight fight with TJ Brown, one that proved entertaining.

Elkins vs. Brown served as the featured prelim at UFC Vegas 81.

Elkins had the fight to the ground early, which is not where TJ Brown wanted to be. That takedown was perfectly executed by Darrne Elkins, and he was heavy on top as Brown tried to buck him off to create room for a scramble. With Brown unable to free himself, Elkins went to work with some ground and pound, but when he worked to isolated an arm, Brown finally scrambled out.

That allowed Brown to turn the tables, landing a big takedown of his own with just over 90 seconds in the round. Like Elkins had been before him, TJ Brown was fluid on top but Elkins scrambled free much quicker, then took Brown’s back and dragged him down, locking up a body triangle and going hunting for a rear-naked choke. Elkins had a minute to pull off the choke, but a gutsy Brown fought it off.

Round two opened with Elkins and Brown going back-and-forth, both throwing single strikes, Brown mixing in a leg kick or two. Elkins shot for a takedown, nearly landed it, but couldn’t keep Brown down — Brown then nearly had the back in a scramble but Elkins wound up on top! Lots lof high-level, exciting grappling changes in this one, and soon it was Brown getting on top himself. And before long, it was Elkins on top and. Back-and-forth, rinse and repeat. Elkins eventually rolled into a guillotine choke attempt, but Brown slipped free, and they went back to the feet. Not for long, as Elkins landed another takedown.

More scrambles followed. Elkins continued to get the better of the grappling exchanges, hunting for an arm-triangle choke at the end of the round.

Brown found himself on his back again early in round three, and when he got to his knees, he found Elkins on his back. He used wrist control to transition to the top, and Elkins was threatening to mount, though he settled into half-guard. An arm-triangle choke looked like it might be there for Elkins. Brown, who had been competitive early, now appeared to be in survival mode, and you had to wonder what sort of effect the fight was having on his gas tank. Near the midway-mark of round three, Elkins locked up a rear-naked choke on a clearly exhausted Elkins, and the tap came moments later!

“This old dog has still got some fight in him!” exclaimed Elkins after the win, which saw him move alongside Max Holloway with 26 fights in the featherweight division. “The Damage” also has the second most wins.

Official Result: Darren Elkins def. TJ Brown by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 3, 2:23