Grading UFC Fight Night 75

BarnettNelson“Grading the card” is an article that is written by Mike James and posted on MMAOddsbreaker after every major UFC and Bellator event. Every main card fight and the card itself is briefly discussed and given a letter grade. This article covers UFC Fight Night 75, which took place Saturday Night from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.   Josh Barnett vs Roy Nelson There are not too many heavyweight fights that last 25 minutes, but both fighters showcased their durability and improved skillset. Barnett dominated the action for most of the contest, especially in the clinch. He brutalized Nelson’s midsection with hard knees and followed them up with hard elbows and uppercuts to Nelson’s head and body. Barnett came into the fight in tremendous shape and he never slowed down for the whole 25 minutes. Nelson had some good moments as well, as he landed several takedowns and right hands against the cage. It was a quality main event that is worth watching if you have not seen it yet. Fight Grade: B+   Gegard Mousasi vs Uriah Hall The fight as a whole was not very exciting, but it produced one of the best moments and knockouts of the year. Mousasi dominated Hall in the first round with superior ground work. He effortlessly passed his guard and threatened with submissions. Most observers thought there would be two more rounds of similar action. However, Hall had other ideas. He came out early in the second round and landed a spinning back kick just as Mousasi was shooting for a takedown, which enhanced the impact of the kick. He then landed a flying knee and finished Mousasi with punches on the mat. As I said, the fight was mediocre as a whole, but the finish was one of the best in recent memory. Fight Grade: B- (Finish was an A+)   Kyoji Horiguchi vs Chico Camus Horiguchi made good on his first appearance since losing his opportunity at UFC gold against UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson this past April. Kyoji dominated much of the action in this one with hard counter right hooks and kicks to the body. Additionally, he landed several hard left hooks and utilized superior footwork and movement. Horiguchi earned a solid victory that should put himself in line for a shot at one of the top fighters in the flyweight division. Fight Grade: C   Takeya Mizugaki vs George Roop Mizugaki came into this contest after getting finished in his last two bouts, which is unfortunate for him because prior to that he was on a five-fight win streak. Roop, meanwhile, had not competed since getting starched by Rob Font in July of last year. This contest was mostly controlled by the hometown fighter, Mizugaki, as he used his superior boxing and clinch work to earn a unanimous decision on the judge’s scorecards. Takeya continually landed his right hand whenever he had space, which he would then follow up with a left hook. This would usually cause Roop to initiate a clinch, which Mizugaki often reversed. It was not the most exciting fight by any means, but it was a solid contest between two longtime veterans. Fight Grade: C-   Diego Brandao vs Katsunori Kikuno This was by far the shortest fight of the night. Brandao blasted Kikuno with a big right hand about 10 seconds into the fight that had the Japanese native in all kinds of trouble. Kikuno tried to recover but Brandao was relentless and kept pounding away until the referee stepped in to save him.   Fight Grade: A- (Mainly for Brandao’s performance)   Mizuto Hirota vs Teruto Ishihara Hirota and Ishihara battled for three hard rounds to be named the winner of the UFC’s Road to UFC: Japan reality show, which would have awarded the winner a six figure UFC contract. Unfortunately for both men, the bout was declared a split draw, but both fighters were awarded the contract in the aftermath. Perhaps they will have a rematch down the road. As for the fight itself, it was pretty entertaining and featured plenty of back and forth action. Ishihara won the first round by repeatedly landing his straight left hand and circling away before the slower Hirota could counter. Things started to turn the other way a few minutes into the second round, as Ishihara started to tire and Hirota kept finding a home for his right hand and even managed to land a few takedowns. The third round was back and forth, with Ishihara scoring a knockdown with his left hand and Hirota winning most of the rest of the round. Fight Grade: B-   UFC Fight Night 75 Card The event may not have been stacked with a lot of fighters that casual fans would recognize, but it produced some quality fights and two unbelievable comebacks. The fighters for the most part delivered, especially Uriah Hall, who notched the biggest win of his career. It will be interesting to see who the UFC matches up next with some of the winners from the card, especially Barnett, Hall, and Horiguchi. Overall UFC Fight Night 75 Grade: B-

Written by Mike James

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