Saggo pleased with first-round TKO in return to UFC octagon

Jason Malloy
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Coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon and not having fought in a year and a half had Jason Saggo nervous heading into Saturday night in Las Vegas.

He didn’t show it.

“Once I got in the octagon, I relaxed a little bit and just realized, OK now all the hard work is done, I’ve just got to relax and stick to the game plan,” Saggo said Monday.

The 30-year-old Grand Tracadie resident defeated Justin Salas with a first-round TKO in the lightweight division on the UFC 196 card.

“It couldn’t have went any better,” Saggo said.

“It was a huge boost in confidence. . . Justin is a really good opponent and he’s beaten some guys I look up to.”

Saggo said he leaned on previous experience in sticking to his game plan on Saturday night.

“I wasted way too much energy on my last fight to try and get the fight to the ground.”

He stayed on his feet on Saturday and landed some kicks before Salas went for the takedown. Saggo used his jiu-jitsu background to transition from is back to end up on top of Salas. He landed a couple of elbows and a number of punches before the referee stopped the fight 4:31 into the first round.

Without any damage from Saturday night’s fight, Saggo could fight soon.

Saggo (2-1 in the UFC and 11-2 overall in his mixed martial arts career) hopes to negotiate a new contract with the UFC and potentially be on the UFC 200 card in July or the card in Ottawa in June.

The first one into the octagon to congratulate Saggo was head coach Paul Abel.

Saggo said he is a better fighter now than before the injury and he owes a lot of the credit to his teammates at Wulfum MMA and others who supported him mentally as he worked towards his return.

“They kept me on the right path.”

Saggo arrived home Monday at 3 a.m. and was back teaching a class by midday.

Geographic location: Las Vegas

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