With fighters dropping like flies off the UFC 149 card, Canadian welterweight Chris "The Menace" Clements jumped quickly for a fight after Thiago Alves was forced out of his bout with Siyar Bahadurzada.
"I called and asked for it", Clements said over the phone this week. "My agent was over in Singapore and I emailed him and phoned him and when he got the information from me, he checked his messages and Joe Silva had already called asking. I was asking for it and Joe Silva was asking for it so it just worked out well."
Many fans and experts are already calling dead meat in this one for the Ontario-born and Adrenaline Training Center fighter who was crafty and effective in a close decision win over Keith Wisniewski in his UFC debut in April. Bahadurzada himself burst on the UFC scene with a stunning 42 second knockout over Paulo Thiago earlier in the same month.
Clements is a very experienced fighter, and he sees this as a great stylistic match up for him.
"I actually think it's a better fight for me than Wisniewski. With him, I couldn't really let go because he's a really experienced guy so I had to fight him kinda crazy. I had to do a lot of weird stuff and keep moving.
I couldn't really set down on anything because all he wanted to do was hold me down and lay on me. He's a grinder.
Siyar, he's a stand up fighter, he's more up my alley so, yeah he's a higher ranked guy in the world and stuff like that and he's got a lot of hype behind him but as far as matchup wise I don't see him as a big step up in competition or any more difficult.
It's a win-win right, I get to stay on the main card and so I get some nice exposure and if I lose I lose. I'm supposed to lose. If I win, you know I jump way up. At my age, I'm looking for the fastest possible way to get up there so to be on the Pay-Per-View in my second UFC fight it's huge for me."
Both of these fighters certainly like to stand and trade, and it will be an entertaining fight no matter how long it lasts. I asked him if he is going to hype it up to make sure it is a battle.
"He's gonna get mad, he's gonna get frustrated by me. I'm gonna do some things he's not going to like." He laughed.
"I just have a way of messing with people when I fight so I think I'll frustrate him by doing things. I'm not much of a hype guy, I like to just do my thing in the cage."
Clements has taken this fight on slightly short notice, and he started his camp right away after securing the fight on Monday.
"It's gonna be tough but I just have to be really disciplined. I'm a little out of shape right now. Training for my last fight was basically the first few weeks of with my daughter so I have been catching up on the time with her and the family more than training. I wasn't really thinking about or prepared to fight but this is a great opportunity so I just wanted to jump on it."
Prior to signing with the UFC earlier this year, Clements rose through the Canadian ranks and made his name as a dangerous knockout fighter, mostly in the province of Quebec. He may tap in to his roots a bit leading up to this key match up with Bahadurzada.
"I'm thinking about heading to Tristar to train for about a week or so. I've known Firaz for many years from TKO and stuff like that but I haven't talked to him about it yet or anything. They have a great camp there for welterweights with Sean Pierson, Ryan Ford, Rory MacDonald, George St-Pierre, Alex Garcia you know there's so many top ten welterweight's in the country."
With it being the first ever UFC event in Alberta, he will have a boisterous following of fans hoping and screaming for him on July 21st in Calgary.
"I'm the only Canadian on the main card"
The doubters are out there. There are many who think this is a mis-match from the get go, but I am not one of them.
Clements is a tough, dangerous and experienced gamer, and this one will be closer than people may think.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report MMA, MMA editor at CKSN.ca and guest blogger for Sportsnet.ca.
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