The UFC sees Hakeem Dawodu as a potential Canadian star.
Saturday night showed that the Calgary native still has a way to go to get there, but he also proved at UFC 231 that he’s well on track.
Dawodu earned a split decision at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena against one of the featherweight division’s toughest customers in Boston’s Kyle Bochniak. The judges’ scores were a pair 30-27’s for Dawodu to a 29-28 for his foe.
“I’m young, and I’m only getting better, and I have a lot of fight left in me,” Dawodu said after improving to 9-1-1.
The bout was contest largely in the standup, and while Bochniak can take a beating, he just didn’t seem to have any answers for Dawodu’s varied striking game. Dawodu threw punches and combos and kicks all over, and seemed particularly adept at landing body shots.
Bochniak’s best bet after clearly dropping the first two rounds was to try to take it to the mat, and he did land a pair of takedowns. But Dawodu popped right back and resumed his control on the feet.
“Everybody is aggressive, but yet again another guy who is supposed to be aggressive, when he stands in front of me I’m going to push him back,” Dawodu said.
Dawodu is now 2-1 in the UFC after his third career decision victory. Bockniak (8-4) has lost two straight and three of four.