Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweights Chad Laprise and Francisco Trinaldo scrapped at UFC Fight Night 74 inside SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
After winning The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Nations, Laprise dropped a weight class and put together a couple solid wins. He was trying to build on the that win streak last night and announce himself as a contender in the process.
Trinaldo also came into this bout on a decent streak, in which he appeared to fix some of the holes in his game. If the Brazilian could make it four wins in a row, he might be able to move away from his position as gatekeeper.
He certainly made an impression.
Laprise started the bout with confidence, walking his opponent down with plenty of feints and hard kicks. There weren't a ton of exchanges, as both men were hesitant to throw their hands early. When Trinaldo attempted to burst forward, Laprise did a nice job sidestepping his wide punches.
After missing, Trinaldo changed his approach. He began pressuring his opponent heavily but with more intelligence, stepping towards Laprise with smooth punches and good combinations. Not long after, he connected with a hard left hand that sent his opponent to the mat briefly.
Laprise was quick to bounce back to his feet, but he was clearly still hurt. He clinched up with the Brazilian, which allowed the physically powerful Brazilian to throw him back down. Now in top position, Trinaldo advanced through the guard quickly and moved into back mount.
Once in a dominant position, "Massaranduba" stopped his opponent with some heavy ground strikes.
Trinaldo has now put together a pair of very strong -- and surprising -- performances to build up a four fight win streak. Despite being 37 years old as of today, Trinaldo truly does look to be improving, which is something of a rarity.
Trinaldo's change of approach really was the story of his fight. When Laprise settled into his rhythm, he was out-striking the Brazilian, and Trinaldo's first attempt to change that was ugly. When he switched it up and fought with more composure, Trinaldo quickly took the center of the Octagon and soon hurt his opponent.
This is a big win for Trinaldo. While he'll probably end up in the cage with another younger prospect -- perhaps Olivier Aubin-Mercier -- I think he's earned a chance to step up. He's not yet worthy of a ranked opponent, but a match with someone like Jim Miller would make sense.
Heading into this bout, Laprise had to fight perfectly in order to win. He's not a big power puncher and only has one style of fighting, which limits his options fairly severely. While he was sticking to his game plan and doing it well, Trinaldo connected on the only punch that really mattered.
Additionally, Laprise was outmatched on the ground. Trinaldo tore through his defense without issue, and while some of that could be blamed on being hurt, it's still not a very good sign.
Nevertheless, Laprise's career is still fairly young, so there is time to improve. For his next opponent, the Canadian should pair off with fellow UFC Saskatoon also-ran, Elias Silverio.
Last night, Francisco Trinaldo stopped his opponent with strikes inside the opening round. Where does the Brazilian go from here?
For complete UFC Fight Night 74 "Holloway vs Oliveira" results and play-by-play, click HERE!