TORONTO — Canadian featherweight Tristan (Boondock) Connelly will face Pat Sabatini later this month at UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Fla.
The 35-year-old from Victoria is coming off an upset win in his UFC debut in September 2019 in his adopted home of Vancouver, via unanimous decision over Brazilian welterweight Michel (Demolidor) Pereira on just five days notice.
Connelly (14-6-0) earned a US$50,000 fight of the night bonus, collecting another $50,000 due to go to Pereira — who had to forgo the money after missing weight by one pound at 172 pounds.
Connelly's return to action was slowed by neck surgery to repair lingering damage from a car accident in January 2019.
Connelly will be fighting at 145 pounds at UFC 261. The 30-year-old Sabatini (13-3-0) is making his UFC debut and has won his last two bouts — and five of the last six.
The main event April 24 at at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena features UFC welterweight champion Kamaru (The Nigerian Nightmare) Usman against No 4 contender Jorge (Gamebred) Masvidal in a rematch.
Usman won by unanimous decision when the two met at UFC 251 last July in Abu Dhabi.
There are two other title fights on the UFC 261 card.
Zhang (Magnum) Weili defends her strawweight title against former champion Rose (Thug) Namajunas in the co-main event. And flyweight title-holder Valentina (Bullet) Shevchenko faces former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 5, 2021