UFC Fight Night 39: Tatsuya Kawajiri suffers first UFC defeat

‘The Crusher’ entered his bout at UFC Fight Night 39 on Friday night on the heels of fantastic 6-0 run at Featherweight, and was even considered a favorite in the eyes of many after an eye-catching performance in his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 34.

But his opponent, UFC veteran Clay Guida (31-14), had other ideas, spoiling the Japanese fighter’s return to Asian soil by handing the 35-year-old what was just his second defeat in three years.

UFC Fight Night 39 took place at the du Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Kawajiri-Guida was part of an eight-bout fight card that aired entirely on UFC Fight Pass.

In the first stanza, Kawajiri was clipped hard by a right hand in the early goings and was sent crashing to the canvas. A quick recovery saw Kawajiri attempt for an Armbar later in the round, but Guida’s repetitive slams for defense proved to be immensely successful.

Round two had both men going for their fair share of takedowns but it was Guida who made an impact on the judges’ scorecards with his control from top position. Kawajiri did look relentless, at times, in his pursuit to lock in a submission hold on Guida’s arm, but the 35-year-old  just couldn’t mount a finish.

Kawajiri continued his hunt for a takedown in the third frame but was unsuccessful. In the midst of his attempt, he was forced to eat some shots as Guida leveraged on strikes for defense. Kawajiri looked fatigued and exhausted at that point and a decision setback looked to be on the horizon. True enough, Guida ended the round on top position following a failed Guillotine attempt by Kawajiri and merited an overall, lopsided score of 30-27, 30-27 and 30-27 on the scorecards.

With the defeat, Kawajiri’s record slumped to 33-8-2. While that’s still impressive on all accounts, the Japanese fighter continues to come up short against American fighters that are ranked in the upper echelon of the pecking order.

You can check out the rest of the results from the UFC Fight Night 39 line-up below:

MAIN CARD

  • Roy Nelson def. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira via KO (Punch) at 3:37 of Round 1
  • Clay Guida def. Tatsuya Kawajiri via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Ryan LaFlare def. John Howard via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Ramsey Nijem def. Beneil Dariush via TKO (Strikes) at 4:20 of Round 1

PRELIMS

  • Jared Rosholt def. Daniel Omielanczuk via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
  • Thales Leites def. Trevor Smith via TKO (Punches) at 0:45 of Round 1
  • Jim Alers def. Alan Omer via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Johnny Bedford vs. Rani Yahya – Declared a No-Contest (Accidental Headbutt) at 0:39 of Round 1

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Thinesh John is a Singapore-based MMA writer. You can check out some of his work over on MMASucka.com. Follow him (@ThineshJohnMMA), and be sure keep up with the latest Asian MMA news from FightSportAsia.com on Twitter (@FightSportAsia) and Facebook

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Categories: Featured, Japan, MMA, UFC

Author:Thinesh John

20, Asian MMA nerd in Singapore.

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