Fresh off a submission win in his October Bantamweight debut, Ringside Featherweight champion Mitch Gagnon (8-1) has signed a five-fight UFC contract. He’ll make his debut January 28, replacing the injured Eddie Wineland in a Bantamweight bout against Johnny Bedford (18-9-1) on the UFC on Fox 2 preliminary card.
Fighting since 2008 out of Team Shredder in Sudbury, Ontario, Gagnon took his first eight bouts at Featherweight. The 27 year-old scored seven submissions there, finishing the likes of Stephane Bernadel, Dimitri Waardenburg, and Guillaume Lamarche in the first round, earning his title in the process. The stocky wrestler’s only loss to date came via decision to Will Romero in early 2009.
After losing a year to injury, Gagnon returned to action in April at Ringside 10, successfully defending his belt against Rejean Groulx via wild third round submission. The back-and-forth bout was a clear-cut contender for Canadian fight of the year.
Originally scheduled to make his Bantamweight debut against RS champ Steph Pelletier at Ringside 12 in October, he instead faced Bo Harris when an injury forced Pelletier out. After getting hit early, Gagnon caught the American in a tight guillotine as he attempted a takedown, earning yet another first round sub.
Gagnon’s UFC signing scuttles any chance of a rescheduled encounter with Steph Pelletier, rumoured for Ringside’s first as-yet unannounced 2012 card.
His opponent, Johnny Bedford was recently seen competing on the fourteenth season of the Ultimate Fighter. The 28 year-old was eliminated from the competition after getting knocked out by eventual Bantamweight winner John Dodson. He bounced back on the TUF finale, scoring a dominant third round TKO over the undersized Louis Godinot in what was his official UFC debut.
UFC on Fox 2 is headlined by a Light-Heavyweight bout between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis. While the undercard airs in the US on Fuel TV, it’s not yet clear if it will be available for viewing in Canada.
Listen to my Ringside 10 pre-fight interview with Mitch here.