Meet TUF 22 Canadian Hopeful Sabah Fadai

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565 Official tryouts for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter are set to take place on April 27th in Las Vegas and there will be no shortage on Canadian talent for the 155lb and 170lb selection process. Leading up to this audition of a lifetime, I’ll be featuring a recurring article on MMAOddsBreaker where I put the spotlight on those Canadian fighters making the trip down to Sin City later this month. Name: Sabah Fadai Age: 29 Height: 6’0 Weight Class: Featherweight (competing at Lightweight) Record: 10-4 (5 TKO/KO’s, 3 Sub., 2 Dec.) Fighting Out Of: Chilliwack, B.C. (Four Directions Martial Arts) Last Fight: Won via Unanimous Decision over Tim Tamaki (Havoc FC 7) Fun Fact: Great friends with UFC lightweight Kajan Johnson While some fighters get into mixed martial arts at an early age, Fadai got involved in the sport after high school when he moved to Kamloops B.C. Studying his Bachelor of Science in university, Fadai took up kickboxing. “I was always into sports, always playing soccer, basketball, volleyball – you name it, I played it. I thought I’d try something new” Fadai told MMAOddsBreaker. “I tried kickboxing, I threw the first punch and it connected and I never wanted to stop throwing.” From there the Chilliwack native evolved his skillset and would take up MMA shortly after. He actually didn’t even know about the UFC when it first started. Instead he became hooked on the sport watching fights in PRIDE and recalls watching Shogun Rua, Wanderlei Silva and Fedor Emelianenko compete. Fadai made his MMA debut in 2007 and went on to win seven of his first eight professional bouts, only going the distance once. It was there he got the call in 2011, that he’d be competing for the Alberta based Maximum Fighting Championship. “It was cool and everything leading up to the fight [with Mukai Maromo]. I was getting a lot more interviews and was being noticed. At the end of the day though you’re going into a fight. Once the bell rings a fight is a fight. I feel the same way. Once I fight in the UFC, the 20,000 people [in the] crowd won’t really bother me. I can really just cancel all that out of my ear and just fight.” Most fans and pundits will remember Fadai for his fight at WSOF 7: Karakhanyan vs. Palmer in 2013 where he fought lightweight standout Nick Newell. While Fadai had the the hometown crowd on his side – with this event being in Vancouver – the Four Directions MMA product ultimately lost the fight in the first round.  Looking back on that matchup, “The Persian Warrior” believes there were outside factors that contributed to that loss. “He beat me fair and square.” Fadai explained. “It wasn’t my best performance, of course I got caught I lost that fight in like the first two minutes or something. [But] there’s a lot of things that people don’t see that [happened] behind the scenes. Mentally I was drained for that fight, there was just so much going on [behind] the scenes. It wasn’t anything I learned inside the cage that taught me a lesson, it was everything leading up to the fight that I took away. It made me a completely better person, I’ve moved on. I’ve got better people around me now, things are looking good now.” Since the loss, Fadai has gone on a two fight win streak and he looks to carry that momentum into the tryouts for upcoming season The Ultimate Fighter on April 27th. As usual, Fadai is training in his hometown of Chilliwack, B.C. at Four Direction Martial Arts. It’s not a big, expensive establishment say like American Top Team in Florida, but Fadai couldn’t be more proud of where he trains. Listening to him describe the facility, he paints the picture of one of those hard nosed gyms like in the Rocky movies. “I’ve got a bunch of good, not very well known fighters. They’re coming onto the scene very slowly, a gym full of bad asses I’ll tell you. It’s like a little dungeon of a gym, underground, no cell reception, and no nothing. We got a bunch of mats and bags and just a great atmosphere to focus on training only.” One advantage Fadai will have over his peers ahead of the tryouts is experience. Fadai tried out for last years TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia competition, but didn’t end up making it on Team Canada’s roster. “I know the process, I’ve been there. The organizers Sean Shelby and Joe Silva, those guys know me. [My manager Pat Wilson] has been messaging them, so they know that  I’m coming. Hopefully that puts in a good word. The first time I tried out I wasn’t expecting anything. I just wanted to go there and get a feel for the environment. What people do, how to prepare for it. I got to a second interview actually out of 1300 contestants and it [was slated to compete at] 170 pounds. Had it not been for a popped LCL during a tryouts I pretty sure I would have been on the show. I’m just blessed to even have that opportunity. ” Like most fighters, Fadai will be competing in a weight class above for this competition. Primarily in his career, Fadai has been competing at featherweight but with the amount weight cutting during the six weeks of filming, he believes lightweight is the safer route. “For me, it [competing at lightweight] is great because I walk around 172 pounds right now and cutting all that weight down to 145 pounds would suck. Doing it twice or three times during the show during in a six week period would, it would drain a lot of the fighters. Lightweight is easy, my nutrition is on point. I don’t party, I don’t drink, I don’t do any of that crazy stuff that I used to do before. I’ve cleaned my act up quite a bit and I’m dedicated to the sport. I know I have what it takes; the only thing is that there is a lot of factors going into a reality TV show.” While he may be the right age and have the type of skillset that the UFC is looking for, ultimately his personality will factor into the elimination as well. Fadai is aware of this and wants to come off with a high amount of integrity. Ultimately he wants the organizers to see who he really is. “Somebody can easily top me with their [back]story. It could be a deciding factor for them choosing me or not choosing me. You can’t go in there and [lie] because it will just come out really wrong. Look at Conor McGregor; he sells because he is what he is.  He’s that character, he’s not putting on a show. You meet him right now, right this minute, he’s clowning someone, you know what I mean? He’s just that type of guy. And then you look at Ronda Rousey. She’s trying so hard to win the crowd over and nobody likes her. She’s just got to understand that her talent and shitty attitude, that really sells the tickets anyways. You can’t fake it; you can’t fake being something you’re not.” You can follow Sabah on Twitter @SabahFadai

Written by James Lynch

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