Justin (The Guitar Hero) Jaynes has wasted little time returning to action after needing just 41 seconds to win his UFC debut on short notice June 20.
Canadian featherweight Gavin Tucker, in contrast, has spent the last year honing his skills in the wake of beating South Korean Seung Woo Choi at UFC 240 in July 2019 in Edmonton.
The different approaches will be tested Saturday when the two face off on a UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas. The main event at the UFC’s Apex production facility sees 35-year-old Derrick (The Black Beast) Lewis, ranked fourth among UFC heavyweight contenders, take on No. 10 Aleksei Oleinik, a 43-year-old Russian.
Tucker (11-1-0) was slated to fight Billy Quarantillo in April, only to have the card scrapped due to the global pandemic. But the 34-year-old believes he has used the time wisely since his last outing.
“I just took a little bit of time off to improve,” said the native of Ship Cove, N.L. who fights out of Halifax. “Every time you see me, I bring something different in the cage … I don’t think anyone out there has outworked me — in the gym, through COVID, through everything. I’m ready.”
Against Choi, a talented striker, Tucker showed his improved grappling. While not always successful — he landed five of 13 takedown attempts — Tucker blunted Choi’s weapons while building a 37-23 edge in significant strikes.
The fight ended via rear-naked choke at 3:17 of the third round.
The Choi win was especially sweet coming after a 22-month absence following a lopsided loss to Rick (The Gladiator) Glenn at UFC 215, also in Edmonton. Tucker showed his toughness, enduring a beating that was painful to watch in the later rounds.
Glenn held a 142-23 edge in significant strikes, outlanding him