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Ontario lightweight Shane (Shaolin) Campbell finds home in Kelowna gym

John Makdessi, left, from Canada, drops Shane (Shaolin) Campbell, from Canada, to the canvas during their UFC 186 catchweight fight in Montreal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. Campbell has trained with former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo at his renowned Nova Uniao gym in Brazil as well as at Kings MMA and Team Alpha Male in the U.S. and Montreal's Tristar Gym.But the 29-year-old lightweight from St. Catharines, Ont., found a home at David Lea's Toshido MMA in Kelowna, B.C., ??? the gym that sent Rory MacDonald to the UFC.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
February 16, 2016 - 9:17 AM

Shane (Shaolin) Campbell has trained with former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo at his renowned Nova Uniao gym in Brazil as well as at Kings MMA and Team Alpha Male in the U.S. and Montreal's Tristar Gym.

But the 29-year-old lightweight from St. Catharines, Ont., found a home at David Lea's Toshido MMA in Kelowna, B.C., — the gym that sent Rory MacDonald to the UFC.

"At the time I was living in Edmonton and I made the decision to not spend another winter there," said Campbell.

"And David Lea brought me down to spar (with) Matt Dwyer for I believe his first UFC fight," he added. "After seeing how David Lea coached and the connection we made, I chose to move here."

On Sunday, Campbell (12-3-0) steps into the cage for his third UFC fight when he takes on American James Krause (22-7-0) on a televised card in Pittsburgh. Donald (Cowboy) Cerrone, moving up to welterweight, faces Alex (Cowboy) Oliveira in the main event at the Consol Energy Center.

The card also features Kelowna bantamweight Sarah (Cheesecake) Moras, another Toshido MMA fighter, and welterweight Alex (The Dominican Nightmare) Garcia, a Dominican who fights out of Montreal.

For the six-foot Campbell, who cuts from around 185 pounds to fight at 155, it's a rare outing against a taller opponent. The 29-year-old Krause, a submission expert whose UFC record is 3-3-0, is six foot two.

Campbell's move to Kelowna came just before his World Series of Fighting victory over Derek Boyle in February 2015. Campbell won in spectacular fashion, hurting Boyle with a body kick and then pausing to throw a Hadouken at him — a move from the "Street Fighter" video game in which the character thrust his palms forward to send a surge of spirit energy flying towards his opponent.

The video of the fight, which Campbell won by third-round TKO, has been viewed more than one million times on YouTube.

"I use it to hurt them," Campbell said somewhat mysteriously about the video game move.

The former Muay Thai world champion graduated to the UFC next time, as an injury replacement on short notice against fellow Canadian John (The Bull) Makdessi at UFC 186 in Montreal last April. Campbell was stopped with seven seconds left in the first round but not before punishing Makdessi's legs with a string of punishing kicks.

Campbell won next time out, via unanimous decision over former Jungle Fight champion Elias Silverio last August in Saskatoon.

While this marks his first UFC fight outside of Canada, Campbell is no stranger to travelling the world. As a kickboxer, he competed in the U.S., China, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Belarus.

He got into combat sports via a friend who was training at Iron Tiger Muay Thai in Stoney Creek, Ont. Campbell joined him twice a week — "I was doing nothing else with my time when I was 16."

Several months later, coach Alin Halmagean asked him if he wanted a fight.

"An amazing coach. He always had the next fight booked for me and I just kept going with it."

Campbell went on to train at different gyms, recalling vividly his time at Nova Uniao in Rio de Janeiro.

"Brazil is such a nice play but the gym itself, you have 50 killers — all fighters — trying to train for their fight. It's a big room but the room is packed full and the fighters have to wait on the sideline just to get their sparring in.

"It was definitely an eye-opener at the time, to really see so many killers and active fighters in one spot."

Campbell teaches at Toshido when not fighting these days.

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Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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