Darren Elkins was relentless from the first second until the last as he secured a unanimous decision win over Tristan Connelly at UFC Vegas 53.
Known for always living up to his nickname as “The Damage,” Elkins was dishing out far more punishment than he was absorbing this time around while also mixing in some suffocating grappling exchanges to prevent Connelly from ever dragging himself back into the fight. When it was over, all three judges scored the fight 30-27 as Elkins picks up his third win in his past four fights.
“It’s that warrior spirit in me,” Elkins said. “I get tagged and I’m like I’ve got to get him back. I felt like I wasn’t hurt but he hit me with some solid shots.
“I want to fight again maybe around September-ish. This was the last fight on my contract so hey Sean [Shelby], let’s get a new contract.”
There was no feeling out process from Elkins as he charged across the cage, threw a couple of hard right hands in Connelly’s face and then planted the Canadian on the canvas with a takedown. While Connelly was able to work up to his feet, Elkins was quick to put him right back down again as he continued displaying superior wrestling and grappling from the top.
Elkins was methodical with his pressure while picking and choosing his punches but never giving Connelly much room to breathe, escape or forge a comeback. The aggression from Elkins was relentless as he kept pushing Connelly backwards before eventually looking for another takedown to bring the fight into his world on the mat.
When Connelly was finally able to put some distance between himself and Elkins, he unloaded some stiff calf kicks that were definitely doing damage. Connelly’s punches were also finding a home but his momentum was regularly stunted by Elkins’ wrestling and overall pressure.
Still, Connelly wasn’t going away, which led to some nasty elbows as well but Elkins was still answering shot for shot and then mixing in takedowns to maintain his advantage. With just 30 seconds remaining, Elkins nearly locked on a rear-naked choke for a late finish but Connelly managed to fight the hands just enough to survive to the final horn.
Elkins has rarely ever engaged in a boring fight, which would seemingly secure his future in the UFC even after his current contract came to a close with his win on Saturday night.