Lots of Canadian content displayed in February UFC cards

Featherweight (middle) Hakeem Dawodu is one of four Canadians lined up for a UFC Fight Night card on February 5 in Las Vegas.

Featherweight (middle) Hakeem Dawodu is one of four Canadians lined up for a UFC Fight Night card on February 5 in Las Vegas.

Middleweight Marc-André (PowerBar) Barriault, flyweight Malcolm (X) Gordon and bantamweight Alexis Davis will also feature on the undercard at the UFC Apex production facility. The main event features Jack (The Joker) Hermansson of Sweden, ranked No.6 among middleweight contenders, and No.7 Sean (Tarzan) Strickland.

Dawodu will face Michael (The Lone Wolf) Trizano while Barriault will face Chidi (Chidi Bang Bang) Njokuani and Gordon will meet Ukrainian Denys (Psycho) Bondar. Davis fights Julija Stoliarenko.

Also in February, Canadian bantamweight Chad (The Monster) Anheliger makes his UFC debut against Jesse (Sui Generis) Strader on February 19 while Canadian middleweight Misha Cirkunov meets Makhmud (Mach) Muradov of Uzbekistan on February 26 in separate Fight Night cards in Las Vegas.

Dawodu (12-2-1) just lost by unanimous decision to Russian Movsar Evloev in June, which ended a five-game winning streak. The 30-year-old from Calgary entered the fight 15th among contenders at 145 pounds, but has since dropped out of the standings.

Trizano (9-1-0) improved his UFC record to 3-1-0 with a decisive victory over Ludovit Klein in May.

Barriault (13-4-0 with a no contest) won two straight games after opening his UFC account with three straight losses and one without a contest. The 31-year-old, who fights in Quebec, won a unanimous decision in September against Dalcha Lungiambula, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who fights from South Africa.

His no-contest began with a win over Poland’s Oskar Piechota in June 2020. But it turned into a no-contest after the Canadian tested positive for ostarine. Barriault blamed the positive test on the contaminated supplements, with the UFC confirming his claim. Although he could not find any evidence of intentional use, the United States Anti-Doping Agency imposed a six-month suspension.

Njokuani (20-7-0) is a Bellator veteran who made his way into the UFC with a TKO victory over Brazilian Mario Filipe de Souza in September in Dana White’s Contender series.

Gordon (13-5-0), a 31-year-old Calgary player now living in Toronto, ended a two-game losing streak with a decision victory over Brazilian Francisco (Sniper) Figueiredo in July.

Bondar (14-2-0) is leading an eight-game winning streak in his UFC debut.

Davis (20-11-0) just lost by decision in June against Sweden’s Pannie (Banzai) Kianzad. Davis, 37, from Port Colborne, Ont. who now lives in San Jose, has lost four of his last five fights and is 7-6-0 in the UFC.

Davis, whose career stalled for 19 months due to shoulder surgery, fought for the UFC 175 bantamweight title in July 2014, losing by knockout to (Rowdy) Ronda Rousey in 16 seconds. A veteran of Invicta and Strikeforce, she is 7-6-0 in the UFC.

Stoliarenko (9-5-2) has lost both of his UFC fights to date. The 28-year-old Lithuanian was last submitted by Julia (Raging Panda) Avila in June.

Anheliger, who trains in Calgary but lives in a suburb of Airdrie, won his UFC contract in September after winning a split decision over Muin Gafurov of Tajikistan in Dana White’s Contender series.

The judges scored 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 for the 34-year-old Canadian underdog.

“One hell of a fight and he’s a Canadian,” White said, announcing the 135-pounder would get a UFC contract.

Anheliger extended his winning streak to nine, dating back to May 2016.

Strader (5-2-0) lost his UFC debut last time, stopped in the first round by Montel (Quik) Jackson in March.

Cirkunov (15-7-0) went from middleweight to light heavy last time around, losing a split decision to Poland’s Krzysztof Jotko in October. The 34-year-old Torontonian won his first four fights in the UFC, but he’s been 2-5-0 since.

Muradov (25-7-0) was subdued by Gerald (GM3) Meerschaert in August after winning his first three fights in the UFC.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 29, 2021

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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