It was a clean sweep for the Canadians at UFC Fight Island 3.
In heavyweight action, Tanner Boser (now 19-6-1) took home his second straight knockout victory after landing a left hook to the eye of Raphael Pessoa (now 10-2) that dropped him to his knees where Boser finished him off against the cage.
Less than one month ago, Boser left Las Vegas with another impressive knockout victory over Philipe Lins, before making the quick turnaround to take on Pessoa.
Boser said it’s been a crazy past 30 days for him, but it was all worth it with the results he saw, which included his first $50k performance-of-the-night bonus.
“It feels great. Two wins and two finishes, and I didn’t even have time to put myself through an awful training camp for this one because it was so short notice,” said Boser in his post-fight press conference.
“All I had to do was get on a plane, come down, and try my luck. So, it worked out perfectly.”
Also stepping in on short notice, Jesse Ronson (now 22-10) locked down the first round submission victory in his UFC return, forcing Nicolas Dalby (now 18-4-1) to tap out due to a rear-naked choke that was setup by a hard combination landed on the feet that sent Dalby to the mat.
In his first stint with the UFC, Ronson went 0-3, with all the defeats coming by split decision. Now, returning to UFC over six years later, Ronson said earning his first UFC win means everything to him.
“It’s unbelievable. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life, to get that UFC win ever since I turned pro,” said Ronson in his post-fight press conference.
“It eluded me in 2013-14, but it’s better than a birthday and better than Christmas.”
Boser executed game-plan perfectly
Boser, who weighed in at 235 pounds without cutting weight, was noticeably smaller than Pessoa inside the cage, who had to cut weight to reach the 265-pound heavyweight limit.
But despite the weight differential, Boser said he will not be considering a drop to light heavyweight, and said the game-plan he had for the bigger Pessoa worked perfectly.
“He was huge; I think he cut weight. I think he was 275; he’s big, even for a heavyweight,” said Boser.
“My plan worked well; pick at him, slow him down, and land the big shots later in the fight. It’s working, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Following his last knockout victory over Lins on June 27, Boser said he noticed a significant jump in his social media following, as well as more attention from the media.
And while he said he does notice it, he said he also tries not to read too much into it.
“You have to take everything with a grain of salt because while people are high on you right now, the next time you don’t have a good performance people are going to just rag on you the best they can,” said Boser.
“Although of course I notice it, I’m not that dumb, I try not to care.”
Ronson cashes in with finish
While Ronson has been a proven finisher throughout his career, he was taking on a man in Dalby who hadn’t been finished in his entire MMA career.
In addition to being the first man to finish Dalby, Ronson joined Boser in receiving a $50k bonus for his work.
“I was really hoping for the TKO, but he’s got a hard head, and he just presented his neck when he turned,” said Ronson.
“I’m not letting go; you give that to me, I’m going to steal your soul. I’m not letting go, and I squeezed the crap out of him.”
Ronson, a natural lightweight, made the jump up to welterweight to accept the short notice opportunity against Dalby.
Ronson said, going forward, he will compete in the lightweight division, and said Luis Pena and Jalin Turner are two opponents he’d like to see opposite him the next time he steps in the cage.
“I train with a lot of tall guys, and I smash the crap out of their legs. I have no fear of tall guys, and I do some serious bodysnatching,” said Ronson.
“They’re the two tallest guys in the division, so give me one right after the other, I don’t care. Give me one or the other. It doesn’t matter; those are just the two guys I want.”