Though he didn’t have as much time to prepare as he normally would have for a bout, lightweight prospect Tristan Connelly’s bout with Zach Juusola at FFC 36 in May went just about as well as it could have.
Just past the half-way point of the first round, Connelly was able to secure a guillotine choke on Juusola and finish the fight for what would become his third win in a row.
“It was a short notice fight and it went exactly how I thought it was going to go,” Connelly told MMAWeekly.com. “I felt that I was a better fight all around than Zack, and it showed quickly. It showed the whole fight. I finished it quickly. Now I’m ready for the next one.”
Connelly feels like his entire game has improved over the past couple of years on his winning streak, but points to the development of his mental preparation and striking game as something that stands out particularly to him.
“I always learn things from every single experience,” said Connelly. “In the last fight I was a little more confident and going in there feeling like I was set and mentally ready. I always feel mentally stronger every fight, and it’s 10-times more for this (upcoming) one.
“I feel more complete all the time. I’m a grappler at heart, but my striking feels more and more confident every single time. Like the last fight, I got the finish because my striking was doing well for me. I’m feeling more confident, more skilled, in every area of the game.”
On Saturday in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Connelly (12-6) will look for his fourth win in a row when he faces D’Juan Owens (18-13-1) in the 155-pound championship main event of Rise FC 4.
“D’Juan is a very experienced guy,” Connelly said. “He’s had a lot of fights and won a lot of them, and beat a lot of tough guys. He’s definitely a tough, tough, opponent.
“I feel my striking is going to be better than his, and my grappling. I feel like he’s going to try to grapple, which he’s done in his last couple fights, and I feel I’m way better there. If he’s going to willingly engage me with that it’s going to make for an easy night for me.”
While Connelly is generally one to take things as they come, he does have a specific goal he’d like to accomplish this year.
“You try to plan for the future, but you’ve kind of got to take it fight by fight as well,” said Connelly.
“I’m looking forward to the UFC coming to Vancouver in September. It’d be awesome to get signed and fight my first UFC fight in front of my hometown. Other than that, I’m just looking to fight again in the fall, and keep looking forward to the bigger things and the bigger shows.”