Gagnon Hoping to Debut Big At UFC 149 in Calgary
Written By Dwight Wakabayashi
Following a false start in January, Sudbury native Mitch “The Machine” Gagnon is set to make his UFC debut this Saturday night on the undercard of UFC 149 from Calgary. It is really a night of Canadian debuts as, Gagnon and fellow Canadian fighter Ryan Jimmo are both getting their first crack at the big time.
Gagnon stated on Twitter earlier this week that he is currently reading UFC 149 headliner Urijah Faber’s book, and he better hope to learn something from it. The Team Shredder product out of northern Ontario will be in tough competition against Team Alpha Male fighter Bryan Caraway. Caraway brings some good experience to the cage, coming off a win against Dustin Neace in his own UFC debut last December. Caraway has fought some very tough opponents in his career, with notable losses to Mark Hominick and Fredson Paxaio. His twenty-one fights to Gagnon’s nine give a clear edge in experience to the American.
Gagnon is a very strong, compact fighter and his ground game is tremendous. He holds a Canadian regional title and has fought and beaten some tough local talent. This is a nice match up for him to get his feet wet in the UFC with his strength being his key to victory. Caraway is also a submission wizard with 14 of his 16 professional wins coming via tap. He poses a formidable challenge for Gagnon and will definitely surprise and make some noise if he wins on Saturday night.
Gagnon has not fought since he defeated David Harris at Ringside MMA 12 in October of last year and cage rust could be a factor going in to this fight. A saving grace may be the fact that Caraway hasn’t fought this year either so they will both be willing and eager combatants.
Gagnon is one of six Canadian fighters on the preliminary card with a seventh, Adrenaline welterweight Chris Clements the only Canadian on the main card. Clements stepped in for an injured Thiago Alves against opponent Siyar Bahadurzada, but will now face another replacement in the always game Matt Riddle. The Calgary card has been plagued by injuries and is virtually unrecognizable to the original card that was announced months ago.
The seemingly cursed card has lost the likes of Yoshihiro Akiyama, Thiago Alves, Thiago Silva, Mauricio Rua, Michael Bisping and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to injury or pull out. Yet in a true show of the depth of the UFC roster they have been replaced by such stars and notables as Urijah Faber, Renan Barao, Hector Lombard, Tim Boetsch, Bryan Ebersole and Chris Clements. The card remains full of world class fighters who should not be overlooked. Due to the revolving door of fighters on and off the card, this event is under-hyped and could over perform among the many over-hyped and anticlimactic cards we have experienced in the past. Don’t sleep on it.