UFC on ESPN+ 9: Iaquinta vs. Cowboy Preview

UFC’s last appearance in Canada was back in December when Toronto played host to UFC 231: Holloway vs. Ortega. This time around it’s Ottawa holding the event, with the event being much smaller scale than the pay-per-view event before. The card had an obvious Canada versus The World theme to it, with eight bouts being a Canadian versus someone from a different country. In the main event, Al Iaquinta is set to face Donald Cerrone. It’s an interesting matchup because, while it’s a high profile fight, the line for Lightweight contenders is long already. While the future of the winner of this bout is hard to call, an easier bet is that it will be a fun fight to watch. Cerrone and Iaquinta both have a past of putting on “fan friendly” fights, no matter win or loss. Before we go further into that bout, let’s go through the whole card.

Preliminary Card

Bout 1: Mitch Gagnon (12-4) vs. Cole Smith (6-0) (Bantamweight)

The opening fight of the show will pit one Canadian against another, as Mitch Gagnon will face Cole Smith. Gagnon has a 4-3 UFC record dating back to 2012 and hasn’t fought since 2016 when he lost to Matthew Lopez. Cole Smith will be making his UFC debut, currently holding an undefeated 6-0 record. He has mainly fought in the Canadian promotion BFL, being the promotion’s Bantamweight Champion for some time.

Bout 2: Arjan Bhullar (8-1) vs. Juan Adams (5-0) (Heavyweight)

In the first of two Heavyweight clashes in the evening, Arjan Bhullar will face Juan Adams. Bhullar is a Canadian fighter who currently has a 2-1 record in the UFC. Bhullar was the first Indo-Canadian to sign with the promotion. He fought in Alberta and British Columbia before making it to the big leagues. His only career win is to Adam Wieczorek, who caught him with an omoplata. Juan Adams will be putting his undefeated streak on the line in his second appearance in the UFC. He earned a contract through Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series and got a win in December against Chris De La Rocha as well.

Bout 3: Kyle Nelson (12-2) vs. Matt Sayles (7-2) (Featherweight)

Kyle Nelson faces Matt Sayles in the next bout. Nelson, like many Canadians on this card, fought at UFC 231 in Toronto back in December. He came out of the event unsuccessful, losing to Diego Ferreira. Sayles is also coming off a loss, falling to Sheymon Moraes at the UFC 227 prelims.

Bout 4: Nordine Taleb (14-6) vs. Kyle Prepolec (12-5) (Welterweight)

Canadian fighter Kyle Prepolec will make his UFC debut against French fighter Nordine Taleb, who fights out of Tristar in Quebec. Taleb lost recently to Sean Strickland in the second round. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak. Prepolec is the flipside, as his last two fights were wins in the regional promotion “BTC.”

Bout 5: Vince Morales (8-3) vs. Aiemann Zahabi (7-1) (Bantamweight)

IN another Canada versus The World matchup, Canadian Aiemann Zahabi will face Vince Morales. Aiemann is the younger brother of Firas Zahabi, a well-known trainer from Tristar Gym. He is coming off an 18-month break from competition, losing to Ricardo Ramos at UFC 217 (which also featured fellow Tristar talent Georges St-Pierres. Morales lost his UFC debut in November but plans to bounce back from the loss.

Bout 6: Sarah Moras (5-4) vs. Macy Chiasson (4-0) (Bantamweight)

Ending off the prelims for the show will be Sarah Moras and Macy Chiasson. Moras, a Canadian, has been in the UFC since 2014 but has had a shaky record of 2-3 since then. She will face Macy Chiasson, who won The Ultimate Fighter Season 28 in late 2018. She fought back in March as well, getting a first-round stoppage over Gina Mazany.

Main Card

Bout 7: Andrew Sanchez (10-4) vs. Marc-Andre Barriault (11-1) (Middleweight)

Starting the ESPN+ main card will be Canadian Marc-Andre Barriault and Andrew Sanchez. Barriault will be making his UFC debut, coming from the Canadian promotion TKO. His record shows that he has powerful striking, picking up many early stoppage wins. Sanchez won season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter, defeating Khalil Rountree. He has won and lost twice since then, recently getting the nod over Markus Perez.

Bout 8: Walt Harris (12-7) vs. Sergey Spivak (9-0) (Heavyweight)

“The Big Ticket” Walt Harris will be Sergey Spivak’s first challenge under the bright lights of the UFC. Spivak currently has a 9-0 record, fighting most of them in WWFC, a Ukranian promotion. He has numerous recorded first-round finishes. His first UFC bout won’t be an easy one as his opponent, Harris, recently beat veteran Andrei Arlovski in December.

Bout 9: Brad Katona (8-0) vs. Merab Dvalishvili (8-4) (Bantamweight)

Brad Katona has had a great past 12 months. Back in July, he defeated Jay Cucciniello to win season 27 of The Ultimate Fighter. After that, he beat Matthew Lopez at UFC 231. Attempting to keep his undefeated streak intact, he will compete against Merab Dvalishvili. Dvalishvili had a rough start to his UFC career with two losses but defeated Terrion Ware in September via decision. It will be a clash between an untouchable fighter and a more experience one on the main card.

Bout 10: Cub Swanson (25-10) vs. Shane Burgos (11-1) (Featherweight)

Cub Swanson is an experienced UFC fighter but has gotten into a three-fight slump recently. Hoping to bounce back from the losses, he is scheduled to face Shane Burgos. Burgos will be competing in his sixth UFC bout, currently having 11 pro wins with only one blemish on his record.

Bout 11: Derek Brunson (18-7) vs. Elias Theodorou (16-2) (Middleweight)

Ontario’s own Elias Theodorou will face Derek Brunson in the co-main event of the show. Theodorou’s last performance was a decision victory over Eryk Anders at UFC 231. On a three-fight win streak, his last seven fights have ended via decision. Brunson is coming off a late 2018 loss to now-interim Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya. The fight didn’t leave the first round, with Adesanya getting a stoppage victory.

Bout 12: Al Iaquinta (14-4-1) vs. Donald Cerrone (35-11) (Lightweight)

“Cowboy” Donald Cerrone will face Al Iaquinta in the main event of Fight Night Ottawa. Cerrone, who is nothing short of a UFC veteran will be trying to improve off of his two-fight win streak. He recently defeated Mike Perry and Alex Hernandez. His win over Hernandez came after extensive trash talk from the 26-year-old fighter. Iaquinta is coming off a dominant five-round performance against Kevin Lee. It was his first fight since going to a five round decision loss against current Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Next week, UFC will head to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for UFC 237. The show will be headlined by Rose Namajunas, who will be defending her Strawweight Championship against Jessica Andrade. The show will also feature well known Brazilian talent Anderson Silva and Jose Aldo.

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