PARIS – Taylor Lapilus’s win on Saturday night was extra special.
Not only did the victory at UFC Fight Night 226 mark his UFC return, but he also did it in his home country and against a man who had disrespected French MMA. Lapilus (19-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) beat Caolan Loughran (8-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in a unanimous decision on the preliminary card of the event.
Loughran flipped the bird to the Parisian crowd at Friday’s ceremonial weigh-ins and had spoken badly about the level of French MMA in the leadup to the fight. Getting the victory was a must for Lapilus.
“You know, my reaction was that I simply wanted to represent my country in the best possible way,” Lapilus told reporters at the UFC Fight Night 226 post-fight press conference. “I love my country, and he particularly insulted it, so it was very important to me to represent it as best as possible, and I really, really wanted to win this fight.”
Lapilus fought for the UFC from 2015 to 2016 before returning to the regional scene. He picked up a record of 7-1 before making this return on Saturday night.
Although the return to the UFC was important, fighting in front of his people in the second-ever event in the UFC was special.
“It’s a feeling that I wish for every fighter, to be able to fight and win in front of your home crowd, a crowd like the one I just had,” Lapilus said. “But you know it’s so impressive and glad of the journey that I had because it was probably one of the most difficult camps I’ve had. I really struggled. But at the same time, to go through that, it’s not only a victory in the octagon, it’s more of a victory for every thing I had to go through, and I’m incredibly proud because of that most of all.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 226.