Featherweights Hakeem Dawodu and Zubaira Tukhugov will take the octagon as the first main card event for UFC 253 this Saturday live at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi and available on pay-per-view.
Born within eight months of each other, both 29-year-olds will be looking to further their career on Saturday. They share striking similar physical numbers, both standing 5-foot-8, but Dawodu does have a five-inch reach advantage.
Dawodu is 11-1-1 overall, 4-1 in his UFC career, and is coming off a commanding victory over Julio Arce in which he threw 23 more significant strikes, winning by a split decision. Dawodu has two other decisions and one knockout at the UFC level and tends to put on a show, throwing 5.28 significant strikes per minutes and connecting on 46 percent of them. With 2.31 strikes taken per minutes and 64 percent defensive accuracy, Dawodu should feel confident as a striker. He’s not an overly experienced grappler but does have an 85 percent takedown defense accuracy.
Coming off a win over Kevin Aguilar in February, Tukhugov is a dominant grappler, averaging 2.88 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 4-1-1 UFC record. The Chechen has won three by split decision, so while getting them on the ground hasn’t been a problem, ending them while on the ground apparently is. Competent as both a striker and grappler, this will be one of the more exhilarating fights on the card.
Here are the betting odds at DraftKings Sportsbook for Hakeem Dawodu vs. Zubaira Tukhugov at UFC 253 on September 26th.
Money line odds
Hakeem Dawodu: +101
Zubaira Tukhugov: -125
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