Maybe Brian Kelleher is better suited as the villain.
When Kelleher made his UFC debut in Brazil last month, he made quick work of his hometown opponent Iuri Alcantara with a submission in under two minutes.
But with the crowd behind him at the UFC’s Long Island debut, Kelleher was the victim of a quick submission himself.
The Selden-based fighter was defeated by Marlon “Chito” Vera at UFC on Fox 25 on Saturday at Nassau Coliseum, losing by armbar at 2:18 of the first round.
After Kelleher and Vera exchanged a few strikes to open the bout, Kelleher looked for a takedown against the cage but couldn’t convert. Kelleher went back to it soon after, pushing Vera against the cage. This time, Vera wasn’t giving any space and got hold of Kelleher’s arm in a kimura lock.
When Kelleher tried to bring the fight to the canvas, Vera held on to the arm and after a scramble, turned to his back and wound up with Kelleher in an armbar position. Seconds later, Kelleher submitted, taking a disappointing loss in front of the hometown crowd.
“It’s hard to always fight in your opponents’ hometown,” Vera said. “It’s hard to always listen to the crowd boo you, but as soon as the Octagon door is locked, there’s no more feelings, there’s nobody to stop you from what’s going to happen.
Kelleher is now 17-8 in his professional career, falling to 1-1 in the UFC. Vera moves to 10-3, including a 4-2 UFC mark.