UFC FN 54: Chris Kelades and Camp Didn’t Give Promotion “a Chance to Reach Out”, Jumped on Opportunity to Fight on Halifax Card
By Kelsey Mowatt
When news surfaced just a few days ago that Louis Gaudinot was withdrawing from UFC Fight Night 54, Chris Kelades and his camp didn’t sit by the phone patiently in the hopes it would ring. Instead, they took steps to make sure the UFC was well aware of the flyweight’s availability.
“I don’t think we gave them a chance to reach out,” Kelades relayed on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, while discussing what led to him being tapped as a replacement for the injured Gaudinot this Saturday. “We hopped on it as soon as we found out there was an injury. There were some other injuries on this card actually where we had talked about doing it or not, but it was at a different weight class and it wasn’t the right way to go. When this presented itself 15 hours later it was incredible.”
While many fighters would jump on an opportunity like this to join the UFC, what made this fight so appealing to Kelades, is that he hails from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. UFC FN 54 will be hosted by the city of Halifax, which is located nearby.
“That’s what the icing on the cake is for sure, because if you get short notice anywhere, you’re going to take it,” said Kelades, who trains out of the renowned Fit Plus gym, which is home to UFC lightweight contender TJ Grant. “But to have it at home, to have friends and family here, and other people who haven’t had a chance to see me fight, it’s a phenomenal experience.”
“It was something I had in my mind,” Kelades noted, when asked if he had been thinking about the possibility of landing a spot on the card, after it was announced earlier this year. “I was looking to see at least one or two local guys try to make the show, and it’s incredible that now through these circumstances someone actually is, and they can get behind someone who is a local guy.”
The 33 year-old Kelades makes his way to the UFC having gone 7-1 since he turned pro in 2009. In July, the flyweight rebounded from a decision loss to Malcolm Gordon under the Bellator banner, by decisioning Adrian Woolley.
“No, probably not,” said Kelades, while discussing whether he would be headed to the UFC, if he had lost to Woolley this summer. “It was proving that I can compete at that level, and beat a guy that’s been a long time staple in Canadian MMA, especially for the lighter guys.”
In Holohan (10-0-1), Kelades will take on a man who is on a five fight win streak, and is coming off a successful UFC debut. At a UFC Fight Night card in June, Holohan tapped out Josh Sampo with a first round, rear-naked-choke.
“I’ve seen his previous fight and some tape on him, but I left most of that up to my coach,” Kelades noted about the Irish flyweight. “Really, I just have to be the best fighter I can be and perform in the way I want to perform, and dictate how the fight’s going to be…His fight was a couple of months ago, and at this level guys are improving quicker, and he may not be the same fighter at all.”
UFC FN 54 will be hosted by the Halifax Forum, and will feature Rory MacDonald taking on fellow welterweight contender Tarec Saffiedine in the main event.