Determination Pays Off in Japan (UFC Fight Night 75 Review)

ufc_fn75The UFC is the largest fighting promotion in the world but they have been a promotion that lacks some major talent in certain places.

There are plenty of stars that have been created in the USA and Brazil and there are a few emerging from Europe.

In Asia though the UFC has yet to see a fighter really emerge as a superstar and begin to move up the rankings in any division.

More often than not the fighters signed from Asia have already worked their way through a number of promotions in their continent and show up for the odd fight in the region.

They are already legends with short careers left as they attempt to make an impact in the UFC.

Even when they get signed they fail to make any type of extended impression on the UFC and none have risen far beyond the initial rankings.

So the UFC launched a plan in an attempt to create a star from Asia and did what they do best in finding talent.

They created The Ultimate Fighter: China, where two new fighters from the country were to be added to the UFC roster.

Out of the show came Lipeng Zhang and Ning Guangyou but as is with many of the fighters form the area they have sen limited action and mixed results.

Zhang is 1-2 since sinning the show early in 2014 while Guangyou has only had one fight since winning the show in August, his finale fight was delayed due to injuries.

Neither have made a major impact yet and most people couldn’t tell you who won the show or if there was even a show to find new Chinese fighters.

The UFC continues to plug ahead though as they looked to Japan to find their next fighter putting together a show much like TUF but slightly different.

Road to the UFC: Japan only involved eight fighters and all were from vastly different backgrounds.

Out of that show came Mizuto Hirota, a veteran fighter who spent time in the UFC years ago, and Teruto Ishihara, a young fighter with plenty of personality, who were set to meet at UFC Fight Night 75 for a contract.

The new show brought two different fighter to the edge of attempting to be a new star of Asian MMA and finally bring an Asian fighter into the roster capable of a title run.

The unorthodox style of the younger fighter gave Hirota plenty of problems to start the fight but the veteran pulled through.

Despite coming close to being knocked out, Hirota was able to land his own power shots that seemed to send Ishihara down.

It was a tight fight and one that was extremely tough to score, too tough for the judges to pick a winner as the fight ended in a majority draw.

After plenty of confusion back stage the UFC decided to award both fighters with a six-figure contract as both Hirota and Ishihara look to begin making an impact after a great fight.

The main event did not feature any of those fighters but they did feature two fighters with plenty of fans in the region.

Roy Nelson had only fought once in the region, a loss to Mark Hunt, but he gained plenty of fans thanks to his big

Josh Barnett returned to the country where he spent most of his fighting career after winning the UFC heavyweight championship and later being cut by the promotion.

There were plenty of fans for both in Saitama and they made their voices heard as two heavyweights went toe-to-toe trying to find some success.

Both had struggled lately and were in risk of falling out of the division rankings if they lost this fight in a bad way.

It was clear that Nelson wanted to take the fight to the ground and grind out a win with his good Jiu Jitsu.

Barnett did not let that happen, at least for the most part, and preferred to stay up in the clinch to trade big shots.

The strategy was a tough one as Barnett got a first-hand lesson in just how tough Nelson is and how hard it is to put him away.

Barnett unloaded everything in his stand-up arsenal and landed shots that could have knocked out almost anyone in the heavyweight division.

Nelson wouldn’t go down and made sure he threw his own big shots back as both looks to take down their opponents.

After five rounds both fighters had nothing left after throwing everything they had at each other but it was Barnett who threw more and controlled the fight.

It was a tough grinding fight and in the end Barnett took the win with a unanimous decision.

He is sure to move up the rankings now and will make a run at the title but has at least one more fight against a top five opponent before he gets there.

Nelson took his third straight loss and doesn’t seem to be any closer to a title fight as he will stay as a fighter that puts on great fights but there won’t be much more time for him to make a run.



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