Hakeem Dawodu Expects ‘Average’ Striking from Zubaira Tukhugov

Sep 24, 2020

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On a four fight winning streak, Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight Hakeem Dawodu was hoping to land a ranked opponent for his 2020 return to the Octagon. That won’t be the case when he faces Zubaira Tukhugov at UFC 253. And from the Canadian’s perspective, he won’t even get a well-rounded threat from the Russian. As “Mean” explains it, he’ll face-off with with a “good wrestler,” but “average” striker Sept. 26 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

“His stand-up is very average. Average for MMA. For boxing and kickboxing, it’s not even ranked,” Dawodu told Sherdog. “He’s a good wrestler [and] I expect him to shoot. I expect him to wrestle me hard, and we prepared for that. I’m looking to put this guy away. He’s got no striking credentials. You watch his striking; it’s basic. Not dissing the dude. He’s not really a striker, he’s more of a wrestler. In this sport you’ve got to respect everybody. I respect his power. I respect his wrestling but I’m a WMC world champion muay Thai kickboxer. He’s just an average striker. It’s nothing personal. It’s not being disrespectful, it’s just the truth.”

Along with breaking down his upcoming match-up on “Fight Island,” Dawodu talked about his unplanned 10-month hiatus from action. Also, disappointment in not facing a ranked opponent in his return and his frustration with not earning a top-15 ranking despite winning four of his five bouts in the UFC.

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