Katsunori Kikuno vs Diego Brandao Preview and Analysis – UFC Fight Night 75

Diego BrandaoThe main card of UFC Fight Night 75 features a featherweight contest between Katsunori Kikuno and Diego Brandao. This is solid matchmaking by Joe Silva and I would be surprised if this fight went the distance. Kikuno was brutally knocked out in his last fight by Kevin Souza, while Brandao defeated Jimmy Hettes in a somewhat controversial fashion.   Katsunori Kikuno (23-7-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC, +200 underdog) The 33-year old is a longtime veteran of the sport that has fought many of the top fighters around the world. He spent a lot of time in the Deep and Dream organizations from 2005 to 2013 before signing with the UFC. Kikuno made good on his UFC debut in early 2014 by defeating Quinn Mulhern via unanimous decision. His next outing was a complete disaster, however, as Tony Ferguson beat the brakes off him before ultimately knocking him out in the first round. Kikuno would split his next two contests, as he submitted Sam Sicilia and got brutally knocked out by Kevin Souza in his most recent outing. He will look to get his UFC record above .500 with a win over Brandao tonight. Kikuno is one of the mot awkward fighters in the history of the sport. His karate-based style is quite unique, as he holds his hands at his waist and leaves himself wide open to getting bombed by his opponent. His striking is decent, as he has a solid right hand and kicks to the body. Not to rely on only one dimension, Kikuno also has a decent ground game that nicely compliments his striking attack. Besides Katsunori’s poor striking defense, his shaky conditioning is something to watch out for as well.   Diego Brandao (19-10 MMA, 5-3 UFC, -240 favorite) Brandao was a hyped prospect when he made it to the finals of season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter. He had several impressive wins throughout the show but it was not until the finale that he actually got to show his true potential, as he submitted current top ten featherweight Dennis Bermudez in the first round with an armbar. Since then he has compiled a 4-3 record, with all three of his losses coming against elite fighters; Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirer, and Darren Elkins. The 28 year old features a well-rounded attack; he can win both on the feet and on the ground. With 10 knockouts and 5 submissions out of 19 career wins, he is a potent finisher. He is very aggressive on the feet, almost to a fault. Sometimes he gets a bit too reckless while attempting to finish his opponent and will gas himself out. Still, he is extremely dangerous in the first round and packs power in his hands. Additionally, he is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt that has a vast array of submissions at his disposal, both from top position and off his back. Brandao also has good enough wrestling to get most of his opponents to the mat. As I mentioned earlier, his fatal flaw has always been his conditioning. The Jackson’s MMA fighter tends to fade after the first round or two, though he has improved in that area in recent fights.   Thoughts I would be surprised if this fight went the full fifteen minutes. Both fighters are potent finishers that have fought and beaten quality competition. I expect Brandao to come out on top here, as he should have the advantage in just about every area. That is not to say Kikuno cannot win, because Brando is known to have mental lapses in the cage. However, Kikuno’s suspect defense and Brandao’s potent offense leads me to believe Brandao will get his hand raised, likely by knockout.   The Prediction: Diego Brandao defeats Katsunori Kikuno by knockout (round 1)

Written by Mike James

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UFC Fight Night 75 Play: Diego Brandao (-240) vs Katsunori Kikuno (+200)

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