5 Defining Moments: Tim Elliott

Tim Elliott has thus far managed to keep Father Time at bay.

The battle-hardened 36-year-old Xtreme Couture representative will seek to improve upon a 7-10 record in the Ultimate Fighting Championship when he faces former Legacy Fighting Alliance titleholder Victor Altamirano in a UFC on ESPN 46 flyweight showcase on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Elliott has rattled off three wins across his past four appearances. He has not fought since he outpointed Tagir Ulanbekov to a unanimous decision in their three-round UFC 272 pairing on March 5, 2022.

As Elliott makes final preparations for his showdown with Altamirano at 125 pounds, a look at five of the many moments that have come to define him:

1. Magic Trick

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 winner John Dodson escaped an ultra-competitive encounter with Elliott with a unanimous decision in a UFC on Fox 3 flyweight prelim on May 5, 2012 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Dodson swept the scorecards by identical 29-28 counts, despite the fact that he appeared to sustain an injury to his left hand in the first round. Elliott, a late replacement for Darren Uyenoyama, acquitted himself well in his first Octagon appearance. The aggressor throughout, he threw everything he had at Dodson. “The Magician” countered effectively, worked his angles and slammed knees into Elliott’s exposed body. With two rounds seemingly in the bank, Dodson, hampered by the inability to use his most trusted weapon, lost his way in the third. Elliott tagged him repeatedly with power shots, standing up the Jackson-Wink MMA representative more than once with stiff left hands. Dodson survived, but Elliott had arrived.

2. Rising to the Occasion

Takedowns, superb positional grappling and damaging ground-and-pound carried Elliott to a unanimous verdict over former King of the Cage champion Jared Papazian, as their flyweight pairing helped anchor “The Ultimate Fighter 16” Finale undercard on Dec. 15, 2012 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Scores were 30-25, 30-25 and 30-26. Elliott survived an illegal knee from his opponent in the first round, and imposed his will throughout their 15-minute encounter. The Wichita, Kansas, native did his best work in Round 3, where he struck for multiple takedowns, floored Papazian with a body kick, threatened with chokes and left him battered and bloodied with punches and elbows from the top. By the time it was over, Elliott held a 189-46 advantage in total strikes landed and had piled up more than seven minutes of control time.

3. Gold Standard

Elliott captured the vacant Titan Fighting Championship flyweight crown with a five-round unanimous decision over American Top Team’s Iliarde Santos in a TFC 34 co-feature on July 18, 2015 at the Clark County Fairgrounds Event Center in Ridgefield, Washington. All three members of the cageside judiciary struck 50-45 scorecards. Elliott blended clinches with a mixture of strikes, from standing elbows and jumping knees to more traditional punches and kicks. Santos struggled to keep up and saw his best chance at a comeback vanish late in Round 5, where his American counterpart escaped from bottom position and freed himself from potential danger. It remains the only title on the Elliott mantle.

4. A Brush with Greatness

Demetrious Johnson scored with takedowns, scrambled into advantageous positions and shredded Elliott’s defenses with unending guard passes to retained the Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight crown in “The Ultimate Fighter 24” Finale headliner on Dec. 3, 2016 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Scores were 49-46, 49-46 and 49-45, though the five-round fight was not without its share of unexpected drama. Elliott had “Mighty Mouse” in real danger in the first round, where he escaped an armbar, caught a tight guillotine and transitioned to a brabo choke. Johnson kept his composure, returned to his feet and pitched a shutout from there. Elliott emptied his gun in a bid to dethrone the champion, utilizing a quirky standup approach, Donkey Kong hammerfists and even open-handed palm strikes. He was game but ultimately outclassed. Johnson spent the majority of the second, third, fourth and fifth rounds in top position, floating from half guard and side mount to the north-south position, the back and the topside crucifix. Only Elliott’s airtight submission defense prevented the finish, as “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 24 winner withstood the champion’s attempts at rear-naked chokes, straight armbars and kimuras to see the final bell.

5. Unwitting Steppingstone

Deiveson Figueiredo submitted Elliott with a guillotine choke and leapfrogged the former Titan Fighting Championship titleholder in the 125-pound pecking order as part of the UFC Fight Night 161 undercard on Oct. 12, 2019 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The end came 3:08 into Round 1. Figueiredo needed some time to navigate the Xtreme Couture export’s unorthodox approach, which included punches from odd angles and upward elbows in close quarters. Perhaps sensing he was outgunned on the feet, Elliott shot for an ill-advised takedown, wandered into the choke and soon realized there was no escape. Surrender soon became his only option. Figueiredo captured the undisputed flyweight crown less than a year later.

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