Canadian Chad Anheliger lands UFC contract for Dana White’s Contender series
Competition was tough Tuesday night in Las Vegas for the second episode of this season’s Dana White Contender series, but Calgary’s Chad Anheliger now has a UFC contract after a split decision victory over Tajikistan’s Muin Gafurov.
In the opening bout, Anheliger, who started his professional career with a 2-5 record, won his ninth consecutive bout and improved to 11-5 with the victory over Gafurov, who appeared to become the very first signatory of the UFC of his country of origin. .
Despite being a more than three-to-one underdog, bantamweight Anheliger landed a big knee which brought his opponent down in the first round. After a poor performance in the second round, he bounced back in the third to overtake his exhausted opponent.
White said the fact that Anheliger was an underdog played into his decision.
“He’s on a nine-game winning streak, he was an underdog tonight… and he’s Canadian,” White said as he awarded Anheliger a contract.
Now in its fifth season, the Contender series features unsigned mixed martial artists competing with the goal of being selected by White personally and winning a UFC contract.
Anheliger became only the second Canadian to land a contract on the program after TJ Laramie became the first to accomplish the feat the previous season.
“I was waiting on pins and started saying I was going to get him, especially when he wanted another Canadian there,” Anheliger said in an interview with Laura Sanko after getting the contract.
Anheliger, who turns 35 on December 1, will be among the oldest bantamweight to compete in the UFC when he makes his debut.
In next week’s episode, another Canadian prospect will look to land a contract when Jasmine Jasudavicius, from St. Catharines, Ont., Takes on Julia Polastri in the women’s flyweight division.