Connelly, Mirzaei New Champs, Siraj Knocking on UFC Door After Rise FC 4

Rise FC 4 was a pure blood bath.

Rise FC’s fourth instalment took place Saturday night in Victoria, B.C. and the seven fights on the card made for a highly-entertaining night of MMA action.

In the main event, a busted up Tristan Connelly (now 13-6) was able to persevere and bring home the fifth round TKO victory over D’Juan Owens (now 18-14-1), as well as the Rise FC lightweight title.

Tristan Connelly
Tristan Connelly prepares to enter the fifth round against D’Juan Owens at Rise FC 4. (Photo by Joel Griffith)

Although Connelly was the one sporting battle wounds on his nose and left eye, both he and Owens landed their share of big shots in what turned out to be fight of the night.

“D’Juan’s a gamer, man. He was good everywhere and there was no real holes to exploit,” said Connelly in an interview.

“That choke I had was tight. He hadn’t tapped at the 10-second point, and I thought he was going to go out. He even told me it was as tight as it could be, but he was just waiting to go out or for the round to end.”

The victory marks Connelly’s fourth straight and eighth in his last nine tries, all coming before the final bell.

The win also makes Connelly a champion in two different promotions, Rise FC and CageSport, but he said this one has a little extra significance to him, especially having used to call Victoria home.

“It feels really good because I really earned it. He made me work for it; he gave me nothing for free. I busted my ass for every second of that fight,” said Connelly.

“I’m pretty in the moment when the fight happens, so I was just thinking about the fight, but the nostalgia is this is where my first fight was. With any luck, this was my last fight before I go to the UFC, so it would be awesome to have that be in Victoria.”

A Lifetime of Work

In the co-main event, Saeid Mirzaei (now 2-0-1) was also involved in war with Nicolae Cury (now 9-7, 1 NC) that extended into the championship rounds.

It was in the fourth round Mirzaei was able to land the knockout blow to Cury, solidifying himself as the new Rise FC welterweight champion.

Saeid Mirzaei
Saeid Mirzaei looks to work in a submission on Nicolae Cury at Rise FC 4. (Photo by Joel Griffith)

“It means the world to me; I put my life into this,” said Mirzaei in an interview.

“Now I have double the money. That was the number one thing for me; I needed the money so I can go and have a bit of a summer with my son.”

With his son living in Germany, Mirzaei said where his immediate MMA career will continue is up in the air.

He said he’d like the opportunity to make a life in Germany to be with his son, but said a lot of factors will influence his decision.

“Being away from my kid is depressing my heart and soul. I’m not a depressed guy, but being away from my kid is the hardest thing in the world,” said Mirzaei.

“I don’t have a team there because my team is so strong here. If I can find a way to make my career happen over there, I will. But I’m going to Germany for a little while, at least until they call me back for the next fight.”

Next Stop UFC?

In other action, Jamie Siraj (8-2) threw another dart at the UFC’s board, finishing Blake Sigvaldason (now 3-2) by knockout early in the first round.

Siraj has now won five fights in a row, four via stoppage, and he believes he’s shown enough to warrant a call to the big show.

Jamie Siraj
Jamie Siraj goes to work with Blake Sigvaldason against the cage at Rise FC 4. (Photo by Joel Griffith)

“I went 9-2 as an amateur, I’m 8-2 as a pro, and I’m finishing high-level guys,” said Siraj in an interview.

“I just don’t see how I don’t get the call now. I’m young, I’m marketable, I finish my fights, and I’m only going to keep getting better.”

The UFC event that’s firmly on Siraj’s radar for a potential UFC debut is none other than UFC Vancouver, which is taking place in his hometown.

Although the fight card is filling up fast, Siraj said he will be fully prepared to answer the bell if a short notice opportunity becomes available.

“I’m going to be back in the gym next week,” said Siraj.

“I’m going to prepare like I’m fighting Sept. 14; that’s where my mindset’s at. I’ve turned down some other offers because I want the UFC.”

Josh Kwiatkowski, Bryce Gougeon, Keanan Kellar, and Mitch Strazzella were also victorious on the evening.

Fight recap brought to you by The GIHFT Shop.