While we were all preparing to see a Israel Adesanya face Paulo Costa, a Nigerian Hakeem Dawodu emphatically dispatched his opponent Zubaira Tukhugov from Russia in one of the prelims, ahead of Adesanya fight with Paulo Costa.

Hakeem Dawodu was confirmed winnner of the bout after a unanimous decision. The aforementioned Nigerians pummelled his opponent with 60 landed hits, and 1 take down, while Zubaira Tukhugov could only manage 30 hits on Hakeem with no Take-downs.

Hakeem Dawodu was not impressed with his opponent’s game plan but he was able to walked of UFC 253 with his fifth win in a row overall.

The Nigerian was ableto showcase diverse striking arsenal, good conditioning and solid takedown defense to better Zubaira Tukhugov by split decision in the kickoff fight for the pay-per-view main card on Saturday night.

After the completion of the third round, the judges scored the fight 30-27 and 29-28 for Dawodu while the third official gave it to Tukhogov with a 29-28 score in his favor.

“I thought it was going to be a good fight but as everybody can see, he was running,” Dawodu shouted after the win. “I promise the next fight, give me somebody that ain’t gonna run.”

There was a lot of respect shown from both fighters on the feet after the action got started with Tukhugov and Dawodu measuring each shot thrown. While there weren’t many big exchanges, Tukhugov did manage to crack Dawodu with a couple of stiff punches that backed off the Canadian fighter.