Canadian featherweight T.J. (The Truth) Laramie earned a UFC contract Tuesday night with a victory on Dana White’s Contender Series when injured opponent Daniel (Agent Orange) Swain was unable to come out for the second round.
The Contender Series, held at the UFC Apex production facility, offers fighters a chance to impress the UFC president – and possibly earn a UFC contract.
White was taken by Laramie’s aggressive fighting style.
“(An) absolute savage … I love savages. I love guys that fight like this kid fights. Welcome to the UFC, kid,” White told Laramie.
All five competitors on the card won their way into the UFC.
Middleweights Dustin Stoltzfus and Impa Kasanganay, bantamweight Adrian Yanez and Welsh strawweight Cory McKenna also earned UFC contracts.
Stoltzfus won the featured bout by doctor stoppage when Joe Pyfer suffered a dislocated arm when he was slammed into the canvas.
Swain, who came into the fight with 12 submission wins among his 30 bouts, ended on the ground in the first round after losing his balance attempting a kick. Working off his back he tried for an armbar on Laramie, but the Canadian fought off the submission attempt and looked to punish him from above.
Swain, who had spent much of the first round on his back trying to lock in a submission, was unable to continue after the first round and left clutching his side. It was ruled a TKO via doctor stoppage.
Laramie (12-3-0) wept in the cage after the victory, which came on his late mother’s birthday.
“Once I got into that cage, there was nothing that was going to stop me today,” said the 22-year-old from Windsor, Ont.
“I’ve been training for this fight, this audition, whatever you want to call, it for 10 years … It’s a dream come true,” he added.
Laramie, a former 145-pound champion in the Montreal-based TKO promotion, has now won his last four outings and seven of his last eight.
Swain, a 29-year-old from Newport, Wash., had won two straight and four of his last five. The 5-foot-9 Swain (20-10-1) had a three-inch height and four-inch reach advantage.
Laramie has endured hardship. In 2005 his older brother and mother both died. He and his younger brother moved in with his aunt, who subsequently died of cancer in 2009.
He subsequently moved back in with his father and started training in MMA.
“Despite what I went through, there’s someone else out there going through worse,” an emotional Laramie said in an interview aired prior the fight.
Laramie said he wanted the UFC contract to help get his story out there and “show people what you can make out of a bad situation, of a bad life … You can only take what has happened to you and make the best of it.”
Laramie holds a 2017 win over fellow Canadian Charles (Air) Jourdain, who is 1-2-0 in the UFC. He works as a barber when not training.
In other action Tuesday, Kasanganay won a decision over Anthony Adams, Yanez stopped Brady Huang 39 seconds into the first round and McKenna earned a decision over Vanessa Demopoulos.