Canadian MMA watchlist for September

Kajan Johnson was a contestant on TUF Nations. (Zuffa LLC)

Despite a relatively light schedule, there is plenty of Canadian MMA content fans can look forward to in September. With no major MMA event this weekend, it’s the perfect opportunity to highlight a handful of Canadians fighters competing in September.

Here is your Canadian watchlist for the month of September.

Kyle Nelson (Huntsville, Ont.) vs. Adrian Hadribeaj
TXC Legends 6 (Novi, Mich) – Sept. 12

Nelson (6-0) competes for the first time since May 2014 as he battles Bellator veteran Hadribeaj. The 24-year-old was originally scheduled to fight fellow undefeated Canadian Jeremy Kennedy in July at BFL 27, however Kennedy had to bow out due to injury. Nelson’s been keeping busy as he tried out for Season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter in April and spent time in July training at the famed Team Alpha Male camp. If Nelson can keep his unblemished record intact, a call up from one of the bigger promotions wouldn’t be out of the question.

Mike Malott (Halifax, N.S.) vs. Ousmane Thomas Diagne
Bellator 142 Dynamite (San Jose, Calif.) – Sept. 19

Malott (4-1) makes his Bellator debut Sept. 19 as he faces French fighter Diange. The 23-year-old is coming off the first loss of his career to Hakeem Dawodu at WSOF 14 last November, which promoted a permanent move to California to train with Team Alpha Male. Prior to the loss, Malott had kept an unblemished record which included two wins by knockout and two wins by submission. Meanwhile AKA product Diange last saw action in June 2014, where he lost via submission to Brandon Ricetti – at West Coast FC 10 – which snapped his four-fight win streak. Aside from John Alessio and Julia Budd, Malott is the only other Canadian on the Bellator roster and with an impressive win he hopes to land a multi-fight contract from the California based promotion.

Wolfgang Janssen (Edmonton) vs. Craig Shintani (Sherwood Park, Alta.)
Hard Knocks 45 (Calgary) – Sept. 26

Janssen (5-1) looks for his third straight win as he meets Shintani, who has won four in a row. The Arashi-Do Martial Arts student has finished four of his five opponents, with his only blemish being a TKO loss to WSOF veteran Luis Huete. Shintani (4-1) is a product of The Fire Martial Arts and Fitness gym and has never gone the distance in his five-fight career. With both fighters being 24-years old, this lightweight affair pits two of the most promising 155-pound fighters in Canada, and should certainly deliver.

Tanner Boser (Bonnyville, Alta.) vs. Victor Valimaki (Edmonton)
Unified MMA 24 (Edmonton) – Sept. 26

Heavyweight Tanner Boser, 24, looks for his second straight win when he meets UFC veteran Valimaki in the night’s main event. Boser (7-1) has only tasted defeat once in his career, suffering a six-second knockout loss to Tim Hague this past March at Unified MMA 22. Valimaki (18-9) moves up to heavyweight for this matchup and looks to rebound from his loss last October, where he suffered a first round TKO loss to Jeremy Osheim at MFC 41. Don’t expect this contest hitting the judges’ scorecards as between the two of them, they have a combined 19 finishes through 36-career bouts.

Kajan Johnson (Burns Lake, B.C.) vs. Naoyuki Kotani
UFC Fight Night 75 (Saitama, Japan) – Sept. 26

Johnson (20-12-1) looks for his first two fight win streak since 2011, when he meets Japanese lightweight Kotani. “Ragin” earned his first UFC victory in his last fight, as he garnered a unanimous decision over Lipeng Zhange at UFC Fight Night 66 this past May. Kotani (33-12-7) had his 13-fight win streak snapped when he returned to the UFC in July 2014, losing via TKO to Norman Parke at UFC Fight Night 46. He’s coming off another loss to Yan Cabral at UFC 179, where he was submitted in the second round. Heading into this matchup, the TUF Nations contestant looks to find the form that saw him win five straight fights from 2008 to 2009.

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