Tristan Connelly made his name known at UFC Vancouver. The Canadian was stepping up on short notice to take on Michel Pereira. He would also be fighting in his home city, which made his debut even more surreal.
Given the circumstances, many did not expect him to win the fight. He was the biggest underdog on the card, but the Canadian pulled off the upset winning by unanimous decision.
For Connelly, the fight went exactly as expected.
“[It went] exactly as I planned. Even the flipping and everything I knew he was going to do that. I’m not surprised in the least. If he didn’t do that it would have thrown me off,” Connelly said to BJPENN.com. “The only thing we didn’t expect was him to take me down. We didn’t expect that to happen. He was losing the fight on the feet so he needed to do something. His submission defense was a little better than I thought. He was a strong guy, but it was not overwhelming at all.”
It all amounted to a surreal week for Connelly. Not only was he making his UFC debut in his hometown, but he also got his hand raised. Although he was a big underdog, many of his friends were confident he would win the fight.
“One buddy put two grand on me so he won about eight grand,” he said. “Then when someone else found out he bet two grand, his buddy put 10 grand on me. Definitely a lot of people made money as a lot of my friends made a couple of hundred bucks.”
Although winning his friends money is great, Tristan Connelly also made himself quite a bit. He and Pereira earned the Fight of the Night honors for UFC Vancouver, but since the Brazilian missed weight, Connelly got all 100 thousand.
With the win and bonus, Connelly is hoping to keep the momentum going and fight again by the end of the year. He plans on returning to lightweight and has a name in mind.
“The timeframe would be awesome [for UFC 245 in Las Vegas]. I wasn’t even in the UFC a week ago, so I haven’t thought too much about it. I thought Austin Hubbard had a great fight and beat up a Canadian in Kyle Prepolec. He is coming off a win, we could be a good matchup, but whoever the matchmakers put me with I am fine,” he explained. “I just have two requests. I don’t want to fight an Iridium guy and I don’t want to fight a Canadian. There aren’t enough Canadians in the UFC, I want more, so if they fight me, I think they will lose and I don’t like that. I think everyone under my management as a family, so I don’t want to fight them.”
While Tristan Connelly is planning to return to lightweight, he would stay up at welterweight to fight a legend in Diego Sanchez.
“They didn’t tell [me to stay at 170] and if they did, I would tell them are they crazy. It was all about the matchup. If he just boxed and wrestled me, it would be a different fight. I want to go back to my weight class and fight guys my size,” he said. “But, potentially, I would stay up for the right fight. Like he is a legend but if Diego Sanchez wanted to fight at welterweight, I’d stay up to fight him.”
After his UFC Vancouver win, Tristan Connelly went right back to his job at EA Sports. When asked if he would talk to his boss about being in UFC 3, he said “you know what, maybe I will, I deserve it.”
What did you make of Tristan Connelly’s upset win over Michel Pereira at UFC Vancouver?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/17/2019.