The UFC’s latest offering on Fuel TV is undoubtedly the best one to date. Today they mark their return to Saitama, Japan after a stacked PPV a little over one year ago. Before you watch the stacked main card, which includes Wanderlei Silva, Mark Hunt, Takanori Gomi, Yushin Okami, Hector Lombard, and other top names in the sport, there are five preliminary card fights scheduled for streaming on the UFC’s Facebook page.
You can catch the Facebook streamed fights at 7:30 PM ET/4:30 PM PT before the live main card broadcast on Fuel TV at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT.
Unlike the last Fuel card, where all 12 fighters were coming off a loss, all 10 of the fighters competing on this prelim have won their most recent fight. So let’s take a look at each bout, shall we?
Brad Tavares (9-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) vs. Riki Fukuda (19-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) – Middleweight
The Hawaiian native is a prospect who fought on TUF 11, losing in the semifinals to eventual show champion Court McGee. Tavares defeated cast-mate Seth Baczynski — the two fought each other on TUF with Tavares winning via DQ — on the show’s season finale card. The 25-year-old knocked out Phil Baroni at UFC 125 to continue his unbeaten run in pro fights, but that streak was snapped in an absolute stinker against Aaron Simpson. He’s won his last 2 against Dongi Yang and Tom Watson, and this upcoming fight against Fukuda should be a good measuring stick for his potential in the middleweight division.
Fukuda was unlucky to start his UFC career on a losing note, as Nick Ring took a controversial unanimous decision over him. The Japanese fighter has mixed wins and losses throughout his time in the octagon, with unanimous decision victories over Steve Cantwell and Tom DeBlass, and a decision loss to Constantinos Philippou.
Takeya Mizugaki (16-7-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) vs. Bryan Caraway (17-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) – Bantamweight
Mizugaki has literally alternated wins and losses in his last 10 fights. He’s been a fan-favorite dating back to his WEC debut against Miguel Torres for Miguel’s bantamweight title. With the exception of a very controversial loss to Chris Cariaso, all of his losses have come against former WEC title challengers or champions. Mizugaki’s last fight was a dominant win over Jeff Hougland in Macau. If you’re a patterns person, Mizugaki is going to lose to Caraway, but I can’t write up a preview based on that, can I?
Caraway is a Team Alpha Male member who has competed in Elite XC, WEC, and UFC. He competed on season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter, advancing to the semifinals before losing to Diego Brandao by KO. Caraway dropped to bantamweight after the show and has recorded two rear-naked choke wins over Dustin Neace and Mitch Gagnon. Bryan is a pure finisher on the ground, having won 15 of 17 fights by submission and 10 by RNC.
Alex Caceres (8-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (11-6 MMA, 0-0 UFC) – Bantamweight
“Bruce Leroy” has found the weight class that best suits him. Caceres competed on TUF 12 as a lightweight, dropped to featherweight after the show, and debuted at bantamweight against Cole Escovedo in November 2011. He’s won 3 out of his last 4, and took SOTN honors in July 2012 after choking out Damacio Page. His achilles heel i the past has been submission defense, with 4 of his 5 losses coming by way of submission. He’s going to need to be at his best against Kang.
South Korea’s Kyung Ho Kang has won his last 3 fights, all by submission, and is one of the top Asian prospects in the sport. He’s fought exclusively in his native country and in Japan. The promise surrounding Kang stems from his recent bantamweight tournament title win at Road FC in Seoul. His competition is not notable in the slightest, but he has finished 10 out of his 11 fights including 8 by submission. It would be safe to assume that this should be a back-and-forth ground battle, but I’ve said that more than enough times to know that’s not a sure thing.
Cristiano Marcello (13-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) vs. Kazuki Tokudome (11-3-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) – Lightweight
Marcello is the former head BJJ coach at the legendary Chute Boxe Academy in Brazil, which includes such figures as Mauricio Rua, Wanderlei Silva, and Jose Landi-Jons. His career in MMA has stopped and started over the years, with multiple gaps of 4 years in-between fights, but he’s been on the winning end of most of those bouts. In 2012 he was selected to be a part of TUF 15, but as good as his jiu-jitsu is, his striking clearly had left plenty to be desired. Unsurprisingly he was knocked out by Justin Lawrence on the show, and Sam Sicilia on the season finale. He did earn his first UFC win with a controversial split decision over Reza Madadi at UFC 153 in Brazil.
Tokudome is a Pancrase veteran with wins in 6 of his last 7. The 25-year-old comes from a shootfighting background, and his style is generally based around takedowns and offense from top control. He’s been submitted just once, in his very first fight six years ago against Tomohiko Yoshida. Tokudome has fought mostly fellow Japanese fighters throughout his career, and Marcello is the first Brazilian he’s faced. It will be interesting to see whether or not he will try and keep it on the feet or if he will risk going to the ground with Marcello and try and avoid getting caught in a submission.
Marcelo Guimaraes (8-0-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Hyun Gyu Lim (10-3-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) – Welterweight
Guimaraes was the #2 ranked middleweight in the 2012 Bloody Elbow Scouting Report, but he entered the UFC by taking a fight at 170 lbs against Dan Stittgen. It wasn’t pretty, but the Brazilian took a split decision win in July 2012, while Stittgen was sent packing. He holds a decision win over current UFC welterweight Ildemar Alcantara, a win that propelled him to a title shot in Jungle Fights, where he choked out Lucas Rota to take the 185 lbs title.
Lim is a big welterweight at 6’2″, and currently sports a 5 fight winning streak, with 3 of his fights taking place in Guam. His most notable victory came early in his career in 2008, when he knocked out former UFC middleweight Lucio Linhares in less than 20 seconds. Hyun was scheduled to debut in Macau last November against David Mitchell, but on fight week he was deemed medically unfit to fight by UFC doctors and was forced off the card. He is one of three South Koreans competing tonight (Kyung Ho Kang and Dong Hyun Kim are the others), a first in UFC history.
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