A near knockout early didn’t sway Pat Sabatini from his chosen game plan to put T.J. Laramie on the ground and maul him over the course of three rounds at UFC Vegas 51.
A body shot in the first round had Laramie hurt but Sabatini couldn’t quite put him away despite his best efforts. Still, Sabatini never slowed down through all 15 minutes as he kept hammering away at Laramie, especially with a suffocating ground game to ultimately win a lopsided decision.
All three judges gave Sabatini the fight with scores of 30-26, which included a 10-8 second round thanks to the Philadelphia native’s overwhelming dominance on the ground.
“It feels good to get the win but definitely not happy with my performance,” Sabatini said about the fight. “At least I got the win. The guy’s tough, he’s got a lot of experience. Great guy, great fight, he came out hard.
“I’ll fight anybody, I’m only getting better. Just give me the opportunity and I’ll rise up to it.”
In the early going, it was Laramie who wasted no time turning to his wrestling to bring the fight down to the canvas with Sabatini looking to counter with submission attempts off his back. While Sabatini wasn’t able to fully set up a triangle choke or an omoplata, it was enough to make Laramie scramble to break free and that allowed the fighters to get back to the feet.
Late in the opening round, Sabatini blasted Laramie with a body kick that looked like it might earn him the finish. With Laramie backing off and wincing from the pain, Sabatini pounced but rather than unload a barrage of punches, he decided to look for a guillotine choke and that allowed Laramie a chance to not only recover but he slipped free from the submission and actually ended up on top just before the horn sounded.
As the second round got underway, Sabatini opted to showcase his own grappling pedigree as he immediately closed the distance and tripped Laramie for a takedown. From there, Sabatini spent the better part of all five minutes just mauling Laramie on the ground, hammering away with punches from the top and looking for submissions whenever the opening presented itself.
It was one-way traffic with Sabatini completely taking over after he found his biggest advantage in the fight by putting Laramie on his back and keeping him there. Sabatini was not only pushing the pace with superior conditioning but he was doing everything possible to break Laramie with relentless pressure from his top game.
While he didn’t get the finish, Sabatini just punished Laramie for the better part of 15 minutes to secure his fourth straight win since joining the UFC roster and moving his overall record to 17-3.