A top UFC prospect has landed in the company thanks to a canceled fight.
Tim Elliott (14-8-1) was supposed to fight Pietro Menga at UFC On Fox 26, but Menga missed weight for the bout and it was called off. Elliott has also previously challenged for the UFC Flyweight Title, losing to Demetrious Johnson by decision at the UFC Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale. Elliott is also a former Titan Fighting Championships Flyweight Champion, defeating Iliarde Santos at Titan FC 34 to win the gold. He'll now face Mark De La Rosa, instead.
De La Rosa (9-0-0) is making his UFC debut in this fight and does so with an undefeated streak that has lasted over three years. De La Rosa is the current Superior Combative Championships Flyweight Champion, defeating Arthur Oliveira to win the belt in 2016. De La Rosa has previously fought one UFC veteran in his career, which was a win over Joseph Sandoval at Xtreme Knockout 28.
Fightful's James Lynch spoke to De La Rosa right after the news, and confirmed the fight would happen at bantamweight instead of flyweight.
"I ended up getting out of my contract for Combate. I signed a six fight deal and the pay was great, I was just somehow able to get out of it. I was released. I went to The Ultimate Fighter tryouts...Dana White wasn't there, but I ended up impressing the right people to get this call," De La Rosa said. "It's a multi-fight deal."
He would tell Lynch that despite Elliott's fight being pulled, he hadn't even considered the fight would be a possibility. Despite that, he said making the 135 pound limit won't be an issue.
"They're getting me with USADA, paperwork, Reebok, all the things she went through. It's kind of been there, done that now," said De La Rosa. He'd compare his opponent's fighting style to that of TJ Dillashaw due to the unpredictable nature of the standup game.
"I've been getting a lot of boxing rounds in. My jab is money," said De La Rosa. "I know anything can happen, but I'm hungry and I'm going in there to kick his ass. It's going to be a super tough fight, but I see me finishing him.
UFC 219 takes place on Saturday, December 30 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with Cyborg and Holly Holm headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.
In the full interview, Mark De La Rosa (9-0) discusses his UFC debut at bantamweight against Tim Elliott (14-8-1) at UFC 219 on Dec. 30. Mark also talks about trying out for TUF 27 as a featherweight, his training camp for this fight and being in the UFC with his wife, flyweight Montana De La Rosa.