April 23, 2021 12:00 PM
Last modified date: April 22, 2021 9:33 PM
Ewan Lavender

MMA Preview – Pat Sabatini vs Tristan Connelly at UFC 261

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When is UFC 261? Sunday 25th April, 2021 - 01:00 start (UK)

Where is UFC 261? VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida (US)

Where can I get tickets for UFC 261? Click here to buy tickets for UFC 261

What channel is UFC 261 on? BT Sport 1

Where can I stream UFC 261? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website

For viewers in the United States, the event will be shown live on ESPN+ and you can sign up for access as part of a Disney Bundle here!


Pat Sabatini (13-3) finally gets to make his UFC debut. He stepped up on short notice to replace Mike Trizano who was scheduled to fight Rafael Alves at UFC Vegas 19. However, that fight fell through due to Alves missing weight by a mere 12.5 lbs – a UFC record. Anyway, Sabatini has a new dance partner and cannot wait to get in the octagon. He is 5-1 in his last six and coming off a knockout over Jordan Titoni and a submission over Jesse Stirn for the Cage Fury Fighting Championships.

Tristan Connelly (14-6) is that partner and we have not seen him since 2019 but it was a memorable showing. He stepped up on short notice to take on Michel Pereira who’s hype train was in full force at the time. He stepped up a weight class where Pereira is a huge welterweight as it is and pulled off the upset. He weathered the early storm, waited for him to gas out and then cruised the last couple rounds. He has been out since recovering from neck surgery due to an injury he sustained in a car accident in 2018 but thankfully, he is healthy and raring to go.


Connelly now drops to featherweight highlighting that size discrepancy against Pereira and he will have a two-inch height advantage, but he will still be giving up two inches in reach to Sabatini.

The debutant in the favourite considering Connelly’s lay-off but this should be closer than the odds suggest. Connelly will be a threat on the feet and Sabatini will be happy to trade but expect him to shoot in for a takedown within the first round.

Sabatini is a top wrestler and a savage on the mat. Connelly got taken down twice by the fatigued Pereira and although the Brazilian is a lot more powerful, we expect Sabatini to have similar success and earn a decision with his grappling or even a late submission with a flawless performance.

Prediction: Sabatini via Submission - CLICK HERE FOR PARIMATCH'S WELCOME OFFER (BET £5, GET £30 IN BONUSES!)

Value Bet: Connelly via Decision

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