It’s rare to lose a fight and gain notoriety but that’s what happened to UFC featherweight Kyle Bochniak at UFC 223.
Despite losing to Zabit Magomedsharipov by unanimous decision in April, Bochniak’s heart and determination in that slugfest earned him the respect of his opponent and MMA fans everywhere. It’s that perseverance which he believes will lead him to victory this Saturday when he faces Hakeem Dawodu at UFC 231.
“He’s a super athletic, explosive strong kid. But I am too. I have more experience. I think I’m a better-rounded fighter.” Bochniak told MMA News. “For one thing I’m definitely battle tested. I came into the UFC very green, had some tunnel vision with some game plans. I’ve been in some wars. Every single fight I’ve been the distance so cardio isn’t a problem. I know I can finish fights, I’ve just had a couple of tough matchups. But its battle tested me. I’ve fixed those holes. I know the holes in my game, I’ve been exposed a couple of times. I went back to the drawing board and fixed those holes. I have heart and my mind is strong and I can go the distance. I found my style and you’re going to see it in this fight. I’m really excited about this performance.”
Bochniak (8-3) has yet to find consistency in his UFC career, alternating between wins and losses in his last five fights. Looking to break the cycle, “Crash” trained at Tristar Gym ahead of this matchup thanks to the help of former UFC middleweight and fellow CES MMA alumni Eric Spicely.
“I felt like I wanted to go all in and get some different looks with high level guys. I knew Eric Spicely who’s up there, it was a good fit and I liked it a lot. I’ll be back. I got to train with everybody, the crew of Eric Spicely, Mandel Nallo, Arnold Allen, Mirsad Bektic, Louie Sanoudakis. So many good guys up there from all over the world. Everybody has fights, everyone’s in good shape. It was just a good look, atmosphere and good way to test myself. I got in some high level sparring so it was good. The schedule is one of the best things. You have striking in the morning or grappling at night. Nobody is showing up late, everyone is showing up to work. It’s a short but high intense class. There is no playing around. I spent about a quarter of my camp up there.”
Dawodu (8-1-1) is coming off his first UFC victory back in July as he defeated Austin Arnett by unanimous decision at UFC on FOX 30. The 27-year-old Champions Creed product will be looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since Mar. 2017 in his second straight fight in Canada.
UFC 231 takes place Saturday (Dec. 8) at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario. The main event features featherweight champion Max Holloway defending his title against undefeated Brian Ortega.