Noah Ali (10-5-1) will finally fight again for the first time since Dec. 2019 when he faces Gabe Sagman (7-4) in the main event of Unified MMA 44 for the Unified MMA bantamweight title on Friday night.
Ali, 37, was holding out for a fight with Jamie Siraj, and along with COVID, the Calgary native didn’t get a fight booked. But, once he got the call to face Sagman for the bantamweight title, Ali was ecstatic.
“I’m super stoked, especially getting to fight in front of my city,” Ali said to MMA Empire.
“These opportunities, especially with COVID, haven’t been there, so I jumped on it. It has been a struggle to get fights and I was waiting to fight Jamie Siraj and that didn’t happen, but I’m pumped for this one and to fight for the belt.”
Against Sagman, Ali expects the former flyweight to be full of energy early on and try and outpace him.
Yet, he also thinks once he starts landing, Sagman will go back to his wrestling roots and take some bad shots.
“I know he’s a grinder and a wrestler and will probably try and take me down, but maybe he wants to stand and trade? I know he has fought at 125 before, so he doesn’t have to cut that much weight, which should make him have a lot of energy,” Ali said.
“I’m expecting a grinding fight, but I’m ready to put it on for my city and leave it all out there.”
Not only is Ali excited to leave it all out there in front of his hometown crowd but he also says a big change in this fight is the fact he’s now competing in MMA for fun.
Fighting is no longer a job for Ali, which he believes will only help him as he’s not worried about taking fights when he’s not ready. Instead, he’s taking the right fights when he wants and he believes that will show in this contest.
“I’m going in there to have fun and that is the biggest change. Fighting is just fun for me as it’s not my career and I don’t feel like everything is on the line,” Ali said.
“I’m just going to go in there to have fun and come out with that W and become the champ in front of my city.”
With Ali now fighting for fun, he believes that will lead to him finding the knockout when Sagman gets too aggressive and leaves his chin open.
“You never know in this game what is going to happen. The truth is here, Gabe is very aggressive, but he might be too aggressive and I think I will catch him with something,” Ali said.
“I have five rounds here, so I’m going to be patient, and I think his overaggressiveness will lead to me catching him. It will be fun.”
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