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Elias Theodorou happy he gets to haunt Daniel Kelly's dreams after UFC-Sydney


SYDNEY – Elias Theodorou was no stranger to Daniel Kelly before they threw down at UFC Fight Night 121 on Saturday.

But after his unanimous decision win, Theodorou (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) went into some detail about an altercation he had with Kelly (13-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) a couple days before their middleweight fight at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. Their fight aired on the main card on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

“In some of the media, he was calling me two-faced,” Theodorou said after the fight. “After (media day), we said, ‘Is it OK if we take the elevator with you?’ After the door shut, he says, ‘You know what, mother(expletive)?’ and starts cussing at me.

“He goes, ‘You’re gonna act all two-faced and say you’re gonna be my friend? None of this stuff.’ And he goes, ‘It doesn’t matter. We’re gonna fight and I’m never gonna see you again.'”

Theodorou and Kelly were in the house together on the UFC’s “Nations” season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which pitted fighters from Canada (Theororou) against fighters from Australia (Kelly).

But with his win in the books, it sounds like Theodorou isn’t harboring any hard feelings with the 40-year-old Kelly, who was a four-time Olympian in judo for Australia.

“Now I get to haunt him in his dreams,” Theodorou said. “But the important thing is, I have no animosity toward him. It’s a true honor stepping in the cage with him. … I didn’t shake his hand in the beginning (of the fight), but I did in the third round because it was a true honor.”

Theodorou won that aforementioned “TUF: Nations” season with a TKO of Sheldon Westcott in April 2014, then won two more fights for a perfect 11-0 start to his career and 3-0 in the UFC. After a loss to Thiago Santos, he got back on the right track with wins over Sam Alvey and Cezar Ferreira.

But in July, he dropped a decision to Brad Tavares. So the win over Kelly was huge to keep Theodorou from the first skid of his career, but also to get him back toward putting together another streak if he wants to be a middleweight contender.

“I’ve still got to go back to the drawing board,” he said. “For now, I’m happy I won against a really tough guy and I’m back on a win streak. Obviously, there’s things I could’ve done better.

“… He’s resilient. He’s a true warrior – especially someone in his fourth decade. He’s been doing judo longer than I’ve been on this earth. As someone that’s only been doing martial arts for eight years in any capacity – and six of those years I’ve been professional – I’m always growing and I’m learning. And I have to do that from this fight.”

For more from Theodoroou, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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