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UFC 186’s Fighter to Watch: Kyoji Horiguchi and His Opportunistic Potential

Steven Cavagnino

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The theme of UFC 186 is opportunity. Looking at this card top to bottom, it’s not the star-studded event that the fans are constantly clamoring for, and who can blame them? After last weekend’s dynamite UFC on Fox 15 card, UFC 186 just seems a little lackluster. But, as proven time and time again, it doesn’t take big names to deliver quality fights, simply fighters who are game to throw down and leave it all in the Octagon. And what do fighters need to fight as if their next meal depended on it? Incentive and opportunity.

Headlined by one of the top pound for pound fighters in the UFC, Flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson, UFC 186 has many match ups in which a victory could change a respective fighter’s life. In the co-main event you have ‘Rampage’ Jackson returning for his second stint in the UFC, hoping to regain his early career success. Further down the card sees two hungry middleweights in CB Dolloway and Michael Bisping, one who wants to take the next step in becoming a middleweight contender and another who is hell bent on proving that he is still at the top of the division after all these years. Even at the bottom of the card, a match up between two Ultimate Fighter 20 alumni in Aisling Daly and Randa Markos has clear incentive. A win propels the victor up the new strawweight division rankings while the other falls, losing their first, non-TUF, UFC match.

But it’s at the top of the card where the biggest opportunity lies. What presents more opportunity to a fighter than winning the title belt? It’s the pinnacle of the sport and the crowning achievement of an MMA career; and it’s one win away for young Kyoji Horguchi. The 24 year old Horiguchi is a relative unknown in terms of the casual fan base, he has only been in the UFC for 2 years and doesn’t speak much english. Not a recipe to be a huge star in the United States. Here is what does talk, though. Horiguchi has a 15-1 overall MMA record, he’s 4-0 in the UFC with 2 knockouts and, of his 15 wins, 9 of them come by way of KO or TKO. For a 125 pound fighter, that obvious knockout power is something special.

Horguchi has the benefit of training with one of Japan’s biggest MMA stars, Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto, a knockout artist in his own right. When ‘Kid’ Yamamoto was in his prime, he was one of the scariest knockout punchers in MMA, and he never fought heavier than 155 pounds. The idea that Horiguchi might be a kind of ‘Kid’ Yamamoto prodigy is one that should have any MMA fan interested. To add one last ripple in the intrigue of Kyoji Horiguchi: Japanese fighters currently sit at 0-5 overall in UFC title bouts.

To summarize; With one hard punch, a punch in which Horiguchi has delivered 9 times in his 15 fights, Kyoji Horiguchi could defeat the #3 pound for pound fighter, win the UFC Flyweight title, become the first Japanese UFC champion in the history of the organization, remain undefeated in the UFC, and do it all at 24 years old.

Talk about opportunity.

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Events

*Live Updates* UFC Gdsank Official Results

Harry Davies

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The UFC hosted their second event in the country of Poland, as UFC Gdsank took place at the Ergo Arena. The card was headlined by a welterweight fight between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till.

Cerrone (32-9) was coming off a close unanimous decision loss to former 170-pound champion Robbie Lawler in July. It was the only time in “Cowboy’s” MMA career that he had suffered consecutive losses.

Till (15-0-1) improved his undefeated record in September, defeating Bojan Veličković by unanimous decision. It was a case of old school vs. new school in this headliner, as the up and comer Till hoped to secure the biggest win of his career over Cerrone.


MAIN CARD – UFC Fight Pass – 8PM BST

  • Donald Cerrone (32-9) vs. Darren Till (15-0-1) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Darren Till def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (punches) Round 1 – 4:20
  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-3) – Women’s strawweight bout
    • Result: Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Jodie Esquibel via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Jan Blachowicz (20-7) vs. Devin Clark (8-2) – Light heavyweight bout
    • Result: Jan Błachowicz def. Devin Clark via SUB (rear-naked choke) Round 2 – 3:02
  • Oskar Piechota (10-0) vs. Jonathan Wilson (7-3) – Middleweight bout
    • ResultOskar Piechota def. Jonathan Wilson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

(more…)

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator

Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card

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Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.

Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.

This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.

Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK

  • Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
  • Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
  • Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK

  • 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
  • Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
  • Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
  • Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
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