Brandon “Raw Dawg” Royval earned Fight of the Night honors in his UFC debut Saturday night. The flyweight debutant to the promotion secured an arm triangle choke in the second round against the grizzly veteran former title challenger #11 Tim Elliott.
What Royval was able to do out there was nothing short of spectacular. The BJJ blackbelt under Professor “Busy” Mario Correa added another submission victory to his resume which now boasts 10 finishes. That is now three straight submission victories for the former LFA champion.
Royval is not just a top ten flyweight in the world, he is a legitimate title contender right now, today.
He showed all the makings of a championship fighter in this high-octane bout. Royval was his own harshest critic, but the UFC brass including president Dana White thought otherwise when it came time to deliver bonuses. His raw emotion and brutal honesty in his post fight interview with Daniel Cormier captivated fans worldwide on Twitter with fellow fighters and fans receiving thousands of likes and retweets in advocacy of Royval receiving a performance bonus.
Elliott put the pressure on Royval right out of the gate with a takedown that was the first of four successful attempts. Royval was ultimately able to work off of his back and on the ground while threatening a kimura and an armbar as the first round expired. He showed incredible heart while facing adversity that included an attempted Von Flue choke by Elliott.
The Denver native has a never-ending gas tank, as evidenced in his five round title fight war with Casey Kenney on the LFA circuit in 2018. The question going into the second round was if the wrestle-heavy gameplan from Elliott was sustainable at the pace he was trying to go.
One thing Royval did not do was panic. The 27-year-old did appear to be a little over anxious with a couple of striking attempts that left him vulnerable, which prompted the command from Coach Marc Montoya to stay within himself and take a little off. On the feet, Elliott lived up to his “Awkward” nickname where he used unorthodox head movement to close the distance for 10 takedown attempts.
In the second round, Royval was able to out-scramble Elliott and attempt an arm triangle choke. Royval’s left hip was in great position to allow his shoulder pressure to go to work on collapsing Elliott’s left arm against his neck, and after a failed escape attempt, Elliott tapped 3:18 in the second round.
What’s next for Royval? A number next to his name for sure after the rankings come out Monday morning is certain. #7 Kai Kara France and #8 Rogerio Bontorin are tasty matchups that could be on the horizon for Royval. Also, do not be surprised if a matchup with another former LFA champion in #3 Brandon Moreno gets thrown out there.
-Jordan Kurtz is a founding member of Comments From The Peanut Gallery and The MMA Plug and can be followed on Instagram at @CommentsFromThePeanutGallery and @TheMMAPlug303