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27th May 2018

One of Europe’s greatest prospects drops jaws in UFC return following long lay-off

He was out for 722 days

Ben Kiely

Tom Breese

Anyone who forgot about Tom Breese was served up a devastating reminder on Sunday.

The last time Tom Breese was seen inside the Octagon prior to UFC Liverpool, he was losing a split decision to Sean Strickland. The British prospect indicated that he wanted to move up from welterweight to middleweight following his first loss as a professional. At that time, fans didn’t envisage Breese not fighting again for 722 days.

Before losing to Strickland, Breese was one of the most-hyped prospects in Europe. With nine of his 10 wins coming via finish, including a first-round knockout in Dubin that retired Cathal Pendred, there were high hopes for he Brit. The loss provided a stumbling block while an ACL injury ruined any chance to regain momentum.

Two years after suffering his first defeat, Breese made his comeback. He took on crafty veteran Dan Kelly on the preliminary card of UFC Liverpool. The 40-year-old Aussie judoka didn’t make it out of the first round.

Breese eased himself into the fight, flicking out the jab to shake away the cobwebs. Kelly kept his hands up, but Breese’s precise punches kept finding their mark. Even while bloodying his opponent’s face up, Breese remained patient. Once he landed flush with a left uppercut, Kelly was visibly in trouble.

Kelly grabbed his eye and Breese stopped briefly before moving in for the kill. Kelly turtled up on the ground and Breese hammered away with some extra shots to seal the result. He was awarded the TKO victory at the 3:33 mark of the first round.