Looking back on the majority decision draw he experienced against Marat Magomedov at World Series of Fighting 26 last December, featherweight up-and-comer “Mean” Hakeem Dawodu understands why the judges might have seen the fight as they did, even if he doesn’t feel it was justified.
“(Magomedov) didn’t cause any damage to me, but he did hold me down like a blanket and just kind of laid and prayed,” Dawodu told MMAWeekly.com. “I think I took the fight a little bit too easy. I think I just got too used to knocking everybody out, so I didn’t have that sense of urgency, and I think I held back a little bit too much.
“A lot of people were surprised (by the decision). Obviously, the Russians thought that Marat won. Obviously, my fans thought I won, since I was the one who inflicted all the damage, but it didn’t surprise me. It really lit a fire under my ass, so to speak.”
Having been the only non-victory of his career so far, Dawodu was eager to get back into the cage with Magomedov, and put things right.
“I immediately wanted to take the fight again,” said Dawodu. “I don’t believe we’re evenly matched. I do believe I’m the better fighter, the more exciting fighter. I was the one pushing the pace and making the fight a fight.”
Dawodu (5-0-1) will finally get his rematch against Magomedov (7-0-1) in a preliminary card 145-pound bout at WSOF 32 in Everett, Wash., on Saturday.
“I’m a pretty advanced fighter, so I’m not going to be able to change just like that, but we made a lot of improvements with my wrestling and ground game, and worked a lot on strategy,” Dawodu said.
“The last fight, he was very good at running and holding me down on the takedowns. We’ve worked on some things this time, and I don’t want to give away too many secrets, but this time I’m very confident I’m going to get that W.”
Two and a half years into his MMA career, Dawodu believes he’s ready now to take another step forward in his career, and believes he can make that move with a win on July 30.
“Of course I’d like to be further than I am now, I’d like that title shot, hopefully against the winner of Lance Palmer and Alexandre de Almeida,” said Dawodu. “I feel that after I beat Marat in this fight, I’ll get the title shot.
“I’ll be undefeated with six knockouts. All the people I’ve fought have all been tough guys. This is a big year and this is my year. I don’t have any doubts. I believe I’ll beat Marat, get my title shot, and get my name out there even bigger.”