Post-UFC Fight Night 52: And the Bonus Goes to…

Mark HuntUFC Fight Night 52 was live from the Saitama Super Arena in Japan with 12 scheduled bouts that all streamed live on UFC Fight Pass. After the event concluded, the UFC awarded $50,000 to two fighters for ‘Performance of the Night’ and two fighters for ‘Fight of the Night’. The lines to wager on these props were available at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Mark Hunt earns Performance of the Night (formerly, Knockout of the Night) After nine months away from action, “The Super Samoan” returned to the Octagon in impressive fashion, scoring a second round knockout of Roy Nelson, becoming the first fighter to stop “Big Country” in the UFC. It was an uppercut that did Nelson in and dropped everybody’s jaws to the floor, and up until that point, it looked like it could have been anybody’s fight. It was the perfect way to wrap-up the night in Japan, and a much-deserved bonus for the New Zealand native, who now looks and hopes for a quick turnaround on the UFC’s Fight Night card in Sidney, Australia in November. Noteworthy T/KOs: – Kyoji Horiguchi defeated Jon delos Reyes via TKO in the very first round of action. He hurt the Guam native with a kick to the body in the beginning of the frame, dropping him to the canvas. However, delos Reyes survived and got back in the fight, but that did not last long, as Horiguchi had him hurt soon again, but this time teed off until the referee halted the action, giving the Japanese fighter his first stoppage victory as a UFC flyweight. He looked as impressive as many expected, and fight fans will be eagerly awaiting his next outing. – Hyun Gyu Lim defeated Japanese veteran Takenori Sato via TKO in brutal fashion at the start of the very first round. It was very much expected, as Lim was a very big favorite in the match-up, but the fashion in which he earned the finish earned him a mention in this article. He came out the gate looking for the finish, and in only a minute, it was his vicious elbows that did Sato in. An impressive outing by the Korean, and a great way to return to the win column. Johnny Case earns Performance of the Night (formerly, Submission of the Night) Case was very impressive in his promotional debut, scoring a first round technical guillotine choke submission victory over Japan’s Kazuki Tokudome. It was a solid way for the Alliance MMA product to make his entrance into the UFC, sending a message to the rest of the UFC’s 155-pound division, letting them know that he has arrived. The guillotine he put Tokudome to sleep with is the closest to live broadcasted murder I think we will come to seeing. If he held it for another second or two, it could have been a scary situation. Thankfully, the referee was right on top of the action and stopped the fight the very instant Tokudome went out. Noteworthy Submissions: – Katsunori Kikuno defeated Sam Sicilia via rear naked choke submission in the second round of action. After a closely contested first round in which Kikuno got the better of Sicilia, the fight hit the mat at the beginning of the second, where the Japanese veteran immediately secured back-control and within a matter of moments, had the choke sunk in, with Sicilia ready to tap. It was an impressive showing by Kikuno, and a very good way for him to make his debut in the UFC’s 145-pound division. Kyung Ho Kang and Michinori Tanaka earn Fight of the Night for their back-and-forth, closely contested three round war at UFC Fight Night 52 in Tanaka’s native Japan. This fight was a true definition of a chess-match, as that is exactly what was taking place every time this 135-pound fight hit the mat. There were very entertaining exchanges throughout all three rounds of action, and although I personally scored the fight 29-28 for Tanaka, two of the three judges at ringside scored it the other way, and awarded the Korean the victory via split decision. It was a very impressive showing by both bantamweights, who very well deserved the evening’s honors. After leaving it all in the cage, I’m sure they both gained a ton of new fans and supporters who all look forward to their next fight bookings, though it is possible Tanaka will finally make the drop down to the flyweight division for his next outing, which is where many believe he belongs. Other noteworthy fights: – The aforementioned Hunt vs Nelson. – In a 170-pound main card bout, Kiichi Kunimoto defeated Australia’s Richard Walsh via split decision to pick up his third straight victory inside the Octagon. Walsh had him hurt badly in the first round, dropping him a couple of times and nearly finishing him. Kunimoto survived the onslaught and came back to win the second and third rounds on two out of three judges’ for the split decision win. It was a very entertaining back and forth fight that saw both welterweights have their moments, with the Japanese veteran ultimately edging it. – Masanori Kanehara defeated Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres via a unanimous 29-28 decision on the judges’ scorecards. Kanehara surprised many, including Caceres’ by implementing a wrestling attack, as it was assumed that he would stand and trade with Caceres, knowing that he is a fighter who loves to brawl on the feet. He controlled Caceres’ on the mat for the first two rounds, but the third round took place on the feet, where the tables turned and it was Caceres being the dominant party. Too little, too late, however, as “Bruce Leeroy” failed to secure a finish and was unfortunately dealt his second consecutive Octagon defeat. – Maximo Blanco defeated Daniel Hooker in a closely contested three round war to kick things off for the UFC Fight Night 52 evening in Japan. It was the very first card on the preliminary card, and what a way to start the night! Blanco and Hooker both impressed, though it was Hooker’s chin who was the real star of this bout, as it absorbed some devastating shot’s from Blanco and went nowhere. This was an incredibly fun featherweight scrap that saw Blanco get the better of Hooker in the first two frames, with Hooker coming back and winning the last round. A solid fight for both 145-pounders, especially Blanco, who is now 2-0 inside the Octagon.

Written by Gabe Killian

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