UFC on ESPN 35: Darren Elkins grapples his way to victory

MMA veteran Darren Elkins is just getting started. Elkins faced Tristan Connelly earlier tonight – and defeated him via unanimous decision. Elkins started the bout accenting the combination of his wrestling and jiu jitsu.

Elkins exercised a good degree of control over Connelly in round 1. The possible draw back of his game was aiming for that arm triangle finish. To Connelly’s credit he had success defending on the ground and proved very hard to submit.

Round 2 was eerily similar. Elkins clearly had an advantage when it came to wrestling. He scrambled and chained takedowns in an impressive manner.

Connelly readjusted between rounds 2 and 3 and started off strong in round 3. He briefly had the advantage in the round scoring a number of significant strikes in the clinch.

UFC Apex cage is significantly smaller than the usual one – so it’s more challenging to defend takedowns. Elkins allowed the action to take place on the feet for a significant part of round 3 but ended up scoring yet another takedown and back control subsequently. This time he had the body triangle locked up. Connelly wouldn’t give up. It looked like the submission had sunk with about 20 seconds left on the clock but Connelly managed to briefly recover.

He was disappointed by his performance when all was said and done. Judges scored the bout 37 30 for Elkins. Herzog acknowledged the result and gave him a pat on the back during the result reading.