Ten Best – The Upsets of 2019

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If I had to pick my favorite story of 2019, it would be Tristan Connelly’s upset of Michel Pereira in September. In 2015, Connelly was 5-5 as a pro. That gave him as much chance of getting a call to the UFC as I would. But he persevered. “What do I do at 5-5?” Connelly told me after the Pereira fight. “I’m thinking I’m not going to the UFC, but there’s no point in fighting cans. I love fighting – so let’s fight the best guys I can possibly fight on the regional circuit. I own a gym, I teach, I coach, I have people under me and I want to be the best me I can be for them and learn the most I can learn. So I just started taking all the hardest fights I could.”     Suddenly, 5-5 turned into 13-6, and while he wasn’t on the UFC’s radar, he was around when Sergey Khandozkho was forced out of his bout with Brazilian up and comer Michel Pereira. Connelly took the short notice fight up a weight class in his home province, and then Pereira even came in heavy, putting the newcomer at more of a disadvantage. But when the Octagon door shut, Connelly was there to fight, and fight he did for 15 minutes en route to a decision victory that not only put him in the UFC win column but earned him $100,000 in bonus money. See why it was my favorite story of 2019?

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