The UFC is making it’s first trip to Japan since UFC 29, and what a better way to celebrate it than by having this website’s most beloved weekend contributer liveblog the prelims on FX? Unfortunately for you, Chris Colemon is busy- so instead Seth Falvo will be handling the liveblogging duties for the prelims this evening. Oh well, at least it’s something. Can Takeya Mizugaki make it two in a row against Chris Cariaso? Will former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion Steve Cantwell stop his four fight losing streak against Riki Fukuda? And what does fate have in store for aging JMMA legends Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto and Takanori Gomi? Tune in here to find out as it unfolds.
We are live from Japan and…wait- Did they really just do a “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chant? Those sarcastic bastards. I love this crowd already. The fact that they’re this enthusiastic well before noon is just the icing on the cake.
Oh, and martial arts were born in Japan. Suck it, Pankration.
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Chris Cariaso
Round One: Cariaso comes out with a head kick that barely misses. He tries another, and Mizugaki counters with some nice punches. Mizugaki working his jab early. He attempts a takedown, but Cariaso easily stuffs it. Both guys are remaining active, but neither is landing anything significant. They clinch against the cage, and Mizugaki gets a takedown. Cariaso keeps Mizugaki in his guard and attempts an armbar, but Mizugaki escapes. He’s back in Cariaso’s guard, and Chris Cariaso is doing a good job controlling Mizugaki’s posture and throwing elbows from the bottom. Mizugaki breaks free and lands a few elbows, but Chris Cariaso did a great job keeping Takeya in his guard as the round ends.
Tough round to score.
Round Two: Mizugaki blitzes early, and pushes Cariaso against the cage to attempt a takedown. Cariaso breaks free, and we’re back in the center of the cage. Cariaso attempts a head kick, but it lands around Mizugaki’s armpit. Mizugaki pushes Cariaso into the cage and attempts a takedown. Cariaso avoids the initial attempt and tries for one himself, but Mizugaki tries again and gets it. Mizugaki is trying to pass Cariaso’s guard, but he’s having no success. He stands and lands a few punches on Mizugaki, but he’s back in Cariaso’s guard. Cariaso lands a nice sweep, but Mizugaki immediately gets back to his fight. The round ends with both fighters clinching against the cage.
Round Three: Cariaso lands a head kick, and Mizugaki immediately rushes in and presses Cariaso into the cage. A few knees, and Cariaso now gets Mizugaki against the cage. He briefly looks for a takedown, but Mizugaki stuffs it and both fighters are back in the center of the cage. Straight left from Cariaso, and they’re back against the cage with Cariaso landing knees. Cariaso misses with a hook. He attempts another head kick, but Mizugaki counters and ends up in Cariaso’s guard. Cariaso is really neutralizing Mizugaki’s attack with his surprisingly dynamic guard, but he’s doing nothing of significance in return. They get back to their feet, and Cariaso lands a punch as this one comes to an end. Close fight, but Mizugaki should have this one locked up.
I stand corrected. Chris Cariaso def. Takeya Mizugaki by unanimous decision. This crowd is not happy about the decision, but it was a close fight. No complaints from me.
Riki Fukuda vs. Steve Cantwell
Round One: Cantwell works his jab early, but Fukuda gets in andearns a quick takedown. Cantwell works for an armbar, but Fukuda escapes and lands some heavy ground and pound. This crowd is loving it, punctuating every blow from Fukuda with an enthusiastic cheer. Cantwell escapes, and both guys are back on their feet. Cantwell lands a nice kick. Fukuda attempts another takedown, but Cantwell stuffs it. Fukuda with a leg kick, and another takedown attempt. Cantwell stuffs that one as well. Cantwell with a nice cross, and lands a knee in the clinch. Fukuda with a 1-2. Cantwell attempts a Superman punch, but let’s just say we’ve seen better today. Cantwell stays aggressive, moving forward and landing a kick as this round ends.
Round Two: Cantwell works his jab early again, but Fukuda lands some leg kicks. Cantwell answers back with one of his own. Fukuda gets a takedown, but Cantwell locks up a guillotine. Even though Cantwell only has him in half guard, it looks tight. He doesn’t have it, so he lets go and we’re back on the feet. Some leg kicks and uppercuts from Fukuda, as he shoots for another takedown. Cantwell stuffs it, and lands a nice left hook. Cantwell already looks tired, as he’s now just freezing up when he’s getting hit instead of trying to move away from the punches. Fukuda now has Cantwell covering up against the cage. Cantwell lands a counter punch and escapes, but he’s not faring much better in the center of the cage. A nice 1-2 from Fukuda gets Cantwell back against the cage, but Fukuda misses with an inside leg kick and catches Cantwell low. We’ve got a quick break in the action, and it appears that Fukuda tripped while he was throwing the kick that caught Cantwell. Cantwell comes out after the break and earns a takedown. Cantwell takes Fukuda’s back as this round comes to an end.
Round Three: Nice leg kicks from Fukuda. Cantwell doesn’t have an answer for them. Cantwell spins and attempts a head kick, but Fukuda has this fight under control. Cantwell’s left leg is visibly Fukuda earns a takedown, and ends up in Cantwell’s guard. Cantwell attempts an armbar and a gogoplata (?!), but Fukuda avoids them both and takes Cantwell’s back. Fukuda moves to side control, but Cantwell manages to get back to his feet. Perhaps he should have tried to get Fukuda back in his guard, because Cantwell is getting picked apart with leg kicks and uppercuts, as he has been all fight. Some hard body kicks from Fukuda have Cantwell covering up, just trying to survive the round. Cantwell is done and both fighters realize it. With ten seconds left, Fukuda is content to land a final body kick and let this one go to the judges.
No surprises here. Riki Fukuda def. Steve Cantwell via unanimous decision. Later, Steve. It’s hard to see the UFC keeping him around after a performance like this, especially considering he’s now lost five straight.
Norifumi Yamamoto vs. Vaughan Lee
Round One: Both guys start out throwing heavy shots, but neither guy landing anything. Yamamoto with a nice body kick. Yamamoto lands with a right hook, but trips as he moves away. Lee pins Yamamoto against the cage and attempts to drag him down after the trip, to no prevail. Yamamoto catches Lee and blitzes him, looking for the finish. This crowd is excited, but Lee escapes. Lee rocks Yamamoto with a huge knee, but seems content to just keep Yamamoto against the cage. Yamamoto escapes and lands an uppercut, but is blatantly still hurt from that knee earlier. Lee rushes Yamamoto again, and gets “Kid” on the ground. Lee attempts a triangle, but he doesn’t have it so he switches to an armbar. He’s got the armbar locked up, and Yamamoto taps.
Vaughan Lee def. Norifumi Yamamoto via submission (armbar), 4:29 of Round One. Great showing from Vaughan Lee tonight with this victory, much to the disappointment of this crowd. You can hear a pin drop while Kid Yamamoto addresses the fans after the loss.
Now for our final (preliminary) bout of the evening.
Takanori Gomi vs. Eiji Mitsuoka
Round One: Gomi working his jab early, but Mitsuoka is managing to slip inside and land punches. Mitsuoka clinches with Gomi against the cage, but Gomi lands some big knees and Mitsuoka abandons the clinch. Gomi switching stances often, pawing out his lead hand trying to set up the cross. Mitsuoka lands an uppercut, but is picking his spots carefully. Gomi lands a leg kick, and works his jab some more. Mitsuoka lands a huge counter right, and mounts Gomi. Mitsuoka locks in a mounted triangle, but there might not be enough time left. Gomi thinks about tapping, but decides to wait out the round. Turns out to be a good decision, as this round comes to a close with Gomi still awake, albeit barely.
Round Two: Gomi lands some kicks, but Mitsuoka is doing a surprisingly good job at countering Gomi’s unorthodox attack. Gomi blitzes Mitsuoka, but Mitsuoka survives and circles away. Gomi blitzes again, sensing that Mitsuoka is tired. Mitsuoka attempts a single leg, which Gomi avoids by grabbing the cage. Mitsuoka is too tired to do anything, and Gomi takes his back and begins to rain down punches. Mitsuoka covers up, but punches are landing and Mitsuoka is doing nothing to escape as this one gets called off.
What a wild fight. Takanori Gomi def. Eiji Mitsuoka via TKO (punches) at 2:21 of Round Two. It’s hard to believe that the same Takanori Gomi who almost tapped at the end of the first round would come back to dominate Mitsuoka like this.
Well, that does it for me. Enjoy the main card.