MMA Ratings Podcast

May 4, 2019

UFC Ottawa: Canadian Talent On Display This Weekend on ESPN+

By Adam Martin

The UFC is headed to Canada's capital city of Ottawa, Ontario this Saturday night for UFC on ESPN+ 9, and as you'd expect, a number of the country's top MMA talent will be on display. A total of 10 Canadian fighters will compete on this event, and you can read all about their fights below.

Elias Theodorou (16-2)

Canada's most popular fighter in the UFC right now, Elias Theodorou, takes on Derek Brunson in the co-main event in what is the biggest fight of his career to date. The winner of TUF Nations, Theodorou has racked up an 8-2 record in the UFC and is riding a three-fight win streak with a notable decision win over Eryk Anders his last time out. He's looking to make a run for the top of the middleweight division, and a win over Brunson would certainly get him there.

Brad Katona (8-0)

The winner of TUF 27, Brad Katona is one of the top bantamweight prospects on the UFC roster and certainly one of the country's highest hopes to be a future champion. Undefeated so far in his MMA career, Katona is 2-0 in the UFC and coming off of an impressive win over Matthew Lopez. He now takes on Merab Dvalishvili in what is sure to be a grappling-heavy affair, and with a win Katona could be in line for a top-15 opponent his next time out. At only 27, the sky is the limit for Katona.

Marc-Andre Barriault (11-1)

Canada's top light heavyweight, Marc-Andre Barriault, returns to the middleweight division when he takes on Andrew Sanchez in his UFC debut. Barriault was a two-division champion in TKO and is riding an eight-fight win streak into his UFC debut. He has a ton of knockout power and is fighting an opponent in Sanchez who has been knocked out numerous times, so this could be the perfect recipe for him to make a splash in his Octagon debut.

Sarah Moras (5-4)

The lone Canadian female fighter on the card, bantamweight Sarah Moras takes on Macy Chiasson in what the oddsmakers have listed as the event's biggest mismatch. Considering Moras is just 2-3 in the Octagon and taking on a recent TUF winner, it's easy to see why so many are writing her off. But she has shown in the past she can win as the underdog, and don't be shocked if she can make this fight with Chiasson more competitive than the oddsmakers believe it will be.

Aiemann Zahabi (7-1)

The brother of TriStar gym head trainer Firas Zahabi, bantamweight Aiemann Zahabi, returns after an 18-month layoff when he takes on Vince Morales. Zahabi hasn't fought since UFC 217 -- the night Georges St-Pierre finished Michael Bisping to win the UFC middleweight title -- when he suffered a brutal KO loss to Ricardo Ramos. But considering his last name and the gym he comes from, he'll have plenty of motivation to get back in the win column here against Morales.

Kyle Nelson (12-2)

Featherweight Kyle Nelson takes on Matt Sayles in his second UFC fight, and hopefully it goes better for him after getting steamrolled by Carlos Diego Ferreira in his Octagon debut last year. Keep in mind though, that fight was taken on short notice and up a weight class, so Nelson has plenty more to show the fans this time around in his sophomore UFC effort.

Kyle Prepolec (12-5)

When the UFC called on short notice, Kyle Prepolec said yes and he will take on Nordine Taleb in a welterweight bout. Prepolec is coming off of two straight wins on the Canadian regional scene and now has a prime opportunity to fight a notable opponent in Taleb in his UFC debut. It's worth noting that while Taleb is French, he lives and trains in nearby Montreal.

Arjan Bhullar (8-1)

One of Canada's top heavyweights is back in action, as Arjan Bhullar takes on Juan Adams. Bhullar is 2-1 in the UFC and still hasn't finished a fight inside the Octagon, but with his wrestling pedigree he remains one of the top Canadian heavyweights in MMA. This fight against the undefeated prospect Adams should help determine which one of these big boys will take the next step in their career.

Mitch Gagnon (12-4) and Cole Smith (6-0)

The lone Canadian vs. Canadian matchup on the card is a bantamweight bout between Mitch Gagnon and Cole Smith. Gagnon has a 4-3 record in the UFC but he hasn't fought in over two years, making this a prime spot for the undefeated UFC newcomer Smith to pick up a big win over a notable veteran. These two should put on a show for the fans in the curtain jerker of UFC Ottawa.

Like many of the UFC's recent regional event, there will be no shortage of local talent on display at UFC Ottawa. The Canadian capital city will be rocking this Saturday night, and now it's up to the fighters to go out and show why Canada is one of the top producers of MMA talent in the world.

UFC on ESPN+ 9: Iaquinta vs. Cowboy (formerly UFC on ESPN+ 8: Iaquinta vs. Cowboy) takes place May 4, 2019 at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Click HERE for more UFC on ESPN+ 9 Pre-Fight Analysis

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