While unbeaten through seven professional outings, Hakeem Dawodu remains a virtual unknown as he approaches his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut. The 26-year-old will carry a two-fight winning streak into his featherweight tilt opposite Danny Henry at UFC Fight Night 127 this Saturday in London. Dawodu has delivered six of his seven victories by knockout or technical knockout, having cut his teeth inside the World Series of Fighting organization.
Ahead of his battle with Henry, The Film Room examines Dawodu’s explosive style and why he could be poised to make waves at 145 pounds:
‘Mean’ Muay Thai
Dawodu was 3-0 when he faced Tristan Johnson at WSOF 18 on Feb. 12, 2015. As the fight stretched into the third round, the Canadian showed why he was regarded as one of the top prospects in the sport. Dawodu with laser-like accuracy bombarded Thompson with stiff but precise punches, powerful kicks and elbows. Referee Vern Gorman called for the stoppage 1:59 into Round 3.
Damaging muay Thai has always been the backbone of Dawodu’s game, and never was that more apparent than when he handed Chuka Willis a brutal beating at WSOF 21 on June 5, 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta. Willis began to unravel after he absorbed a crushing knee to the body. Sensing victory was well within reach, Dawodu landed two crisp knees to the head that finished it 2:55 into Round 2.
Down for the Count
Dawodu’s obscure kickboxing match with Trinidad and Tobago’s Davin Sinaswee on May 25, 2013 may not have made headlines, but it provided further insight into his prodigious standup skills. His kicks and punches echoed throughout the gym, and in the second round, “Mean Hakeem” drilled Sinaswee with a perfect kick that buckled his knee, resulted in a 10 count and ended the fight.
Going the Distance
WSOF 35 answered more questions about Dawodu, as it marked the first time he was forced to go the distance in victory. UFC veteran Steven Siler opposed the Canadian on March 18, 2017 in Verona, New York, and entered their confrontation with a 29-6 record that included wins over American Top Team’s Cole Miller and former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Mike Thomas Brown. The two men exchanged blows, countered one another, attempted takedowns and went for submissions. Dawodu proved to be the superior fighter and walked away with 30-27, 29-28 and 30-26 marks from the judges.