On a night in which the hometown fighters were in the spotlight, it was the visitors who triumphed at Unified MMA 35.
In the main event, Teddy Ash (now 12-4) was looking to defend his Unified MMA middleweight title and extend his six-fight win streak. But Dominique Steele (now 18-11) had other ideas.
Steele landed a hard shot that sent Ash to the mat near the end of the first round, leading to a TKO stoppage in Steele’s favour. But due to Steele missing weight, Ash retained his middleweight title, which Steele said he wasn’t too disappointed about.
“I don’t feel like I’m a champion kind of guy,” said Steele in an interview.
“I’m a dog who’s basically pissing on all these trees everywhere. I go in, I mark my territory, and I leave.”
This was Steele’s second straight fight in western Canada, with the previous bout being with Matt Dwyer at XFFC 18, resulting in a first round knockout loss.
Other than a tv show Steele and a couple friends are working on, he’s open to any opportunity that comes his way, including a rematch with Dwyer.
“I hate Matt Dwyer,” said Steele.
“A rematch would be fine. I wouldn’t be complaining. I just don’t like that dude.”
Siraj Smothers Hay
In the bantamweight title bout, Jamie Siraj (now 6-2) smothered the hometown favourite Michael Hay (now 5-2) with just over four rounds of relentless ground and pound, before finishing him with a body shot early in the fifth round.
Siraj said the fight went exactly how he and his team had planned for it to go, and he couldn’t be happier with his performance.
“I knew I was going to be the better striker, the better wrestler, and I knew I had better jiu-jitsu, so it was just about being aware of certain attacks he has,” said Siraj in an interview.
“I wanted to show him I could beat him at the strongest part of his game in the beginning, and then I could start to mentally break him as the fight went on.”
As far as the future goes, Siraj said he has an open mind relating to who or where he fights next.
He was scheduled to face undefeated Justin Basra at XFFC 18 before getting injured, which is a matchup he’s still interested in making.
“Basra is a fight I’d definitely want to take again, but lately I’ve been going into people’s hometowns, so I’d like to see if I can get a fight back at home. If not, I’m happy to come here and defend the belt,” said Siraj.
“I’ve never said no to any opponent. For anyone that says otherwise, that’s a lie.”
Shintani Disappointed, Despite Title
In a bizarre scenario, the scheduled featherweight title fight between Craig Shintani and Clay Dixon did not proceed due to Dixon leaving the building minutes before making the walk to the cage.
As a result, Shintani was awarded the belt and is the new Unified MMA featherweight champion.
Shintani said he was informed three minutes before he was set to make the walk to the cage that Dixon had left the building, stating he simply didn’t want to fight.
“I was just looking to fight more than anything, belt or not. I like to compete and it’s been a little while now, and unfortunately I’ll have to wait a little longer,” said Shintani in an interview.
“It’s tough, it’s sad, but at the same time I have a lot of people helping me look at the pros through all this.”
With western Canada’s featherweight division being as stacked as it is, there will be no shortage of opponents lining up for the first crack at Shintani in his title defence.
Shintani said he’s open to any challenger Unified MMA throws at him, but said that opponent will not be Dixon.
“Dixon is done. I talked to the promoter and he won’t ever fight for Unified MMA again, and I doubt he fights for anyone else again,” said Shintani.
“Whoever Sunny Sareen wants to put in front me at 145 pounds, I’ll defend, I’ll defeat, and I’ll move onto the next person.”