Vancouver’s Tristan Connelly moments before his hand was raised in victory at UFC Fight Night 158 in Vancouver on Saturday. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Vancouver’s Tristan Connelly shocks the UFC world

Late replacement upsets big favourite Pereira, main event sees Gaethje stop Cerrone in round one

Two weeks ago Vancouver’s Tristan Connelly was a relative unknown in the fight world outside of Western Canada.

But after a star making performance as a late replacement to the UFC Fight Night 158 card at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Saturday night, “Boondock” has set the world of UFC on fire.

He’s also $100,000 richer after earning fight of the night and taking the full purse after his opponent Michel Pereira failed to make the 170 pound weight.

Connelly was at one point a +$400 underdog, and his opponent dazzled him early with some of his capoeira skill, but Connelly remained focused.

His tweet earlier in the week seemed to foreshadow Saturday night.

He took over in the second round, and then electrified the crowd with some ground and pound in the third.

Connelly earned the unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27 and 29-28) and Vancouver’s newest star has arrived.

He said he felt confident coming into the fight, despite taking it on late notice and having it occur at a different weight class than he normally competes at.

“Short notice and a weight class up, this feels expected honestly, I knew I was going to win,” he said following the fight. “Honestly, I was expecting more flash from him, he fought a lot smarter than I thought he would. I didn’t expect him to take me down, that kinda surprised me. His jiu jitsu was better than I thought it would be, he wasn’t transitioning much, but I thought I’d be able to finish him a lot quicker, but he defended well. This is just what happens when you fight a guy in his hometown.”

The main event saw Justin Gaethje end Donald Cerrone via ref stoppage in the first round. Gaethje finished him off with punches at 4:18 of round one.

“It was difficult to fight a guy I consider a friend, I never want to do that again,” he said of the fight. “Donald is so tough. The ref in the back said if you fall on your face it’s over and I thought that happened two times, he’s my friend I didn’t want to keep punching him. I have no idea what’s next, every time I walk out here I question everything on purpose, I think they’re better than me, I think they work harder than me, I have something to prove to myself every time I step in here and I will never let myself down. Max effort if what I expect from myself. The Irishman is retired, I want a real fighter, I want the winner of Tony and Khabib.”

Squamish’s Cole Smith, the other B.C. fighter on the event, lost a close battle to Miles Johns. Smith came out strong early and controlled the fight in round one, but Johns took over in the second and unloaded with a barrage of shots in the third. Judges ruled it 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28.

It’s the first-ever pro loss for Smith, who made his successful debut at the UFC show in Ottawa in May.

“Feels amazing to get my first win, I came here into enemy territory against a very good, very tough, undefeated opponent,” he said. “It wasn’t exactly the fight that I wanted, but it was a learning experience, I got the win and am undefeated in the UFC, so that feels great. Dana White’s Contender Series prepared me for this, when I walked in I could hear the boos for me and the cheers for him, so there was a little bit of pressure and I wasn’t really used to that, but the Contender Series definitely prepared me more for that so I felt ready for anything.”

The main card also saw Glover Teixeira defeat Nikita Krylov via judges decision 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28. Heavyweight action between Todd Duffee and Jeff Hughes ended in a no-contest after an eye-poke.

Fan favourite Uriah Hall defeated Antonio Carlos Jr. via judges decision 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29.

The other main card fight saw Misha Cirkunov defeat Jimmy Crute via submission at 3:38 of round one.

Undercard action saw: Winnipeg’s Brad Katona lose to Hunter Azure via judges decision, Augusto Sakai defeat Marcin Tybura 59 seconds into round one via TKO, Chas Skelly beat Jordan Griffin by judges decision and Louis Smolka beat Ryan MacDonald by TKO at 4:43 of the first round.

The show drew an attendance of 15,114 and collected a gate of $1,774,585 CAD.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gunmen arrested after holdup of marijuana dispensary in Abbotsford

Two 18-year-old males demanded cash and weed before taking off on foot

The word landlord needs an eviction notice, one Abbotsford councillor says

Coun. Dave Loewen says term should be replaced by ‘rental housing provider’ in new housing strategy

White Rock woman seeks fellow hockey players for BC 55+ Games

Sue Rittinger aiming to put Zone 3 women’s team together in time for September event

Mission RCMP seek public’s help to locate missing woman

Jeannie McBride was last seen on Jan. 13, 2020 near the 1800 block of McCallum Road

VIDEO: Construction worker injured after boom lift falls over at new Abbotsford courthouse

Emergency crews rescue worker, rushed to hospital with significant but non-life threatening injuries

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

Mud slide prompts evacuation in Burnaby as rain saturates southern B.C.

About 20 metres of a five to six-metre high wall gave way

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

Fraser Valley poultry producer’s $130,000 fight with the CFIA earns him a red-tape award

Canadian Federation of Independent Business Paperweight Awards ‘honour’ government over-regulation

Most Read