Top 3 storylines for Friday’s Unified 55 in Toronto

Jan 14, 2024

TORONTO – Unified MMA kicks off its 2024 season with the STACKED Unified 55 on Friday at Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto, LIVE on UFC Fight Pass. 2024 is going to be the biggest year in Unified MMA history, so it’s only fitting we get the year rolling with a must-see offering in the Fight Capital of Canada. As always, there’s no shortage of intrigue heading into Friday’s showcase event. Here are our Top 3 storylines heading into the big night.

UFC President Dana White Will Be Cageside

The most powerful man in combat sports – UFC President Dana White – will be cageside at Unified 55. White and his crew will be in the house at the sold-out Rebel Entertainment Complex taping an episode of their hit UFC Fight Pass reality show, “Lookin’ for a Fight,” before UFC 297 takes place Saturday down the road at Scotiabank Arena. White is ready to offer life-changing UFC contracts to the most impressive fighters competing at Unified 55, so the boys are more motivated than ever to put on a spectacular show. The biggest week in Canadian MMA history just got that much bigger. Don’t blink.

Elite Canadian Featherweights Clash In The Main Event

Two of the top featherweights in Canada lock horns in Friday’s headliner. John “The Dragon” Nguyen defends his Unified MMA Canadian Featherweight Championship for the first time against Dana White Contender Series vet Mateo “Carrapato” Vogel. Calgary, AB’s Nguyen is hunting for his third straight, first-round KO on Canada’s Ultimate Proving Ground, but it won’t come easily against the Ottawa product Vogel. The guaranteed winner in Unified 55’s Main Event is the fans who get to witness this intriguing clash of styles between the flashy striker Nguyen and Vogel, the crafty submission specialist. Dana White would be wise to have a UFC contract ready for the winner of this must-see matchup between two of the most dangerous 145-pound contenders in Canada.

Dana White Will Have Lots Of Options 

Before the highly anticipated Main Event, Unified 55 features a full slate of top Canadian and international talent. This card is stacked with UFC-ready combatants that Dana White will be watching closely. The winner of Friday’s Co-Main Event will have a serious claim for their next fight being in the UFC’s Octagon. Niagara, ON’s Zack “Pow Pow” Powell is 6-1 on the strength of back-to-back victories, and the South African Mark Hulme is 11-3 with three straight wins. Kitchener, ON’s Pat Pytlik (8-1) and Ryan Leininger (10-4) of Aurora, CO are ready to steal the show in Friday’s Feature Fight. A dark horse pick for “Fight of the Night” is Canadian MMA OG Michael Imperato (11-6, Woodbridge, ON) versus seven-time Bellator MMA vet Ricky Bandejas (15-7, 1 NC, Brick, NJ), who holds wins over several UFC vets, including Merab Dvalishvili, the No. 2 contender in the UFC bantamweight division. Ottawa’s Mohamed Ado looks to climb to 4-0 against his toughest challenge yet, the battle-tested Red Deer, AB product Chris Champion (5-5).


Unified MMA is Canada’s leading mixed martial arts promotion, showcasing the country’s top-ranked fighters, LIVE on UFC Fight Pass. The organization has successfully promoted 54 events across Canada since it was founded in 2009, and has propelled several athletes to the UFC’s Octagon.