LAS VEGAS — Canadian featherweight Gavin Tucker looked impressive in stopping Justin (The Guitar Hero) Jaynes in the third round on a UFC Fight Night card Saturday.
The 34-year-old from Ship Cove, N.L., who fights out of Halifax, used his striking skills to soften up Jaynes before submitting him at 1:43 of the final round via a rear-naked choke.
The win earned Tucker a US$50,000 performance bonus.
The main event at the UFC's Apex production facility saw 35-year-old Derrick (The Black Beast) Lewis, ranked fourth among UFC heavyweight contenders, stop No. 10 Aleksei (The Boa Constrictor) Oleinik, a 43-year-old Russian, via TKO 21 seconds into the second round.
Tucker (12-1-0) used kicks early to keep the hard-hitting Jaynes at distance. And he looked good as the round wore on, hitting Jaynes with combinations — until Jaynes felled Tucker out of the blue with a left uppercut with 90 seconds remaining.
Tucker somehow survived and then fought off an attempted guillotine choke that looked tight — so tight the Canadian almost lost his shorts in the exchange. As the round neared an end, Tucker regained control and Jaynes had to outlast an arm-triangle choke as the hooter went off.
Tucker outstruck Jaynes in the second round with the American's face showing damage. Jaynes lost his mouthpiece during one exchange and the round ended with Tucker battering Jaynes at the fence.
Tucker staggered Jaynes with a knee early in the third round. The fight went to the ground soon after and Tucker, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, took Jaynes' back and locked in a rear-naked choke.
"Once we hit the mat, I felt really comfortable," said Tucker. "But he's tough though, he knew I was coming for him. And honestly, he hits with rocks. This guy's a big swinger."
It was Tucker's first fight since July 2019 when he beat South Korean Seung Woo Choi at UFC 240 in Edmonton. That ended a 22-month absence in the wake of a lopsided loss to Rick (The Gladiator) Glenn at UFC 215.
Jaynes (16-5-0) won his UFC debut June 20 on short notice, needing just 41 seconds to stop lightweight Frank (The Crank) Camacho. Jaynes came down a weight class to meet Tucker at 145 pounds.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 8, 2020.