Coming off an emotional few weeks dealing with fight cancellations and the tragic loss of his coach Robert Follis, Tim Elliott kicked off UFC 219 with an impressive submission win over Mark De La Rosa on the UFC Fight Pass prelims.
Submitting De La Rosa with an anaconda choke at 1:41 into the second round, Elliott fought with complete control over his debuting opponent. Initially in danger during the first few moments of the the first round, Elliott remained patient as he defended a deep armbar attempt from De La Rosa’s guard. Escaping via a slam, Elliott smothered De Le Rosa with top pressure for the remainder of the round forcing De La Rosa into non advantageous positions and creating scrambles where he then hunted for guillotines as well as head in arm chokes. After an unsuccessful guillotine attempt, Elliott ended the second round with a number of elbow strikes on top of De La Rosa’s half guard.
The second round hosted the second strange biting in recent UFC events similar to the Jason Knight vs. Gabriel Benitez fight at UFC Fight Night Swanson vs. Ortega. As Elliott was transitioning from the back to the mount with his arm around De La Rosa’s chin, Elliott proclaimed he was being bitten by De La Rosa. Uncalled by the referee the fight continued as De La Rosa scrambled back into guard and attempted a triangle. After Elliot successfully defended the triangle, De La Rosa turned to turtle guard where Elliott was able to isolate the head and right arm and roll into an anaconda choke forcing a tap from De La Rosa.
— UFC (@ufc) December 31, 2017
Fighting with a purpose
Grieving the loss of his coach, Robert Follis, Elliott thanked De La Rosa as well as his coaching staff and swiftly left the octagon in a short post-fight interview. The victory proved to be a humbling tribute to his former coach. Bouncing back from a first round submission loss at flyweight to Ben Nguyen at UFC Fight Night 110 and an up and down record within the division, Elliott successfully returned to his former division at bantamweight with a decisive submission victory. Due to Elliott’s high pace scramble inducing fighting style, it seemed that the jump back up to bantamweight and cutting less weight paid dividends as he showed no signs of letting up his unrelenting pace. A fresh start at bantamweight creates number of interesting matchups for the rest of the division.
Certainly, after tonight, he has sent a clear message that he is a definite submission threat at 135 lbs.
Combat sports writer from Nashville, TN. Lover of BJJ, coffee, and all things sci-fi.