HALIFAX - Patrick (The Hooligan) Holohan probably didn't know what, or who, hit him Saturday night.
Local flyweight Chris (The Greek Assassin) Kelades, who didn't find out he was on the UFC Fight Night card until Monday of fight week, not only scored an upset win over the previously unbeaten Irish fighter but had some fun with him in the leadup to the bout.
The two had exchanged words at Friday's weigh-in and the 33-year-old from nearby Cole Harbour decided to play off that exchange by sending Holohan a Pot of Gold box of chocolates on Saturday.
"It was a rainbow talk we had a little bit," Kelades explained after his unanimous decision win. "I just told him I was the unlucky pot of gold at the end of his rainbow. And he said he didn't believe in rainbows. So he got a box of Pot of Gold."
Both men ended up getting some gold, earning a bonus of US$50,000 apiece for fight of the night.
The soldout crowd of 10,782 at the Scotiabank Centre roared on the card's lone Nova Scotian, who had originally bought tickets to see the show.
"When we bought the tickets I told my wife I was pissed off," Kelades said. "I was like 'Man I don't want to be buying this tickets, I should be fighting on this card.'"
His mood probably didn't improve on the subject once he found himself on the card.
"As soon as my name was announced, I had people looking for tickets like out the ying yang. It was ridiculous coming from all over, different provinces," he said.
"To me it was a shame when they announced the card that nobody from Halifax locally was on it. Because I think that just fuelled the energy, right. You saw it."
Veteran lightweight T.J. Grant, who is currently sidelined by a concussion, cornered Kelades, a training partner. That meant both their wives could sit together, using Grant's primo tickets.
"So they got a front-row seat to see the whup ass," Kelades, generously listed at five foot seven, said with a grin.
Holohan (10-1), who had benefited from the hometown crowd when he won in Dublin in July, seemed to run out of gas.
He had Kelades' back in the first round but failed to finish him. And the local favourite came on strong in the last two rounds, fuelled by the crowd.
"The shot he caught with me didn't really hurt, but when he pushed me up against the cage, I just kind of felt my gas tank empty," Holohan said. "Then I thought maybe I had him in a choke and when he squirmed out of that, my heart sank because I knew I had used even more energy there. I didn't really hear the crowd, I just tried to fight my fight."
Kelades (8-1) entered the fight as a 3-1 or 4-1 underdog. But he emerged victorious, winning a unanimous 29-28 decision in a scrappy back-and-forth fight.
In addition to the win, he made history by becoming the first Canadian 125-pounder to fight in the UFC.
Kelades admitted he was closer to 150 pounds than 140 pounds when the UFC call came, triggering an intense, condensed weight cut.
He showed that at Friday's weigh-in, towelling every bead of sweat off before stripping naked and getting on the scale behind a towel.
When he made weight, he looked like he had won the lottery.
"It is one of those great stories when you think about it," said Tom Wright, who runs the UFC's Canadian operations.
"He went to bed on Sunday night ... and wakes up Monday morning and gets the call."
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