A decent featherweight tussle opens the UFN 75 main card this September 27, 2015 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
The Match Up
Featherweight Mizuto Hirota 17-7-1 vs. Teruto Ishihara 7-2-1
Featherweight Mizuto Hirota -235 vs. Teruto Ishihara +195
3 Things You Should Know
1. Hirota may never live down being part of a vindictive middle finger stunt, but he’s earned his way back into the UFC, and is a solid presence for the division.
I’ve always been kind of a fan of Hirota. He’s like a Japanese version of Ross Pearson. A little less polish, a little more ‘choo-choo’ (if you will). He definitely deserves another octagon shot over guys like Kotani.
The irony in his infamous Aoki loss is that he’s generally quite the stalwart against grapplers.
Ishida had nothing for him. And wins against Satoru Kitaoka and professional weirdo, Masakazu Imanari, have cemented him as a reliable pugilism to counter one dimensional grapplers. Still, losing to Aoki isn’t exactly shameful (still going strong). Hirota just happened to catch him on his worst day. On a current three fight winning streak in Deep, Hirota will look to make it four against “Yashabo” Ishihara.
2. Ishihara had one of the tougher fights on the ‘Road to UFC Japan’ when he took down Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura. He’s got game.
I had never even heard of Ishihara before the show. But I had heard of Wicky, and figured his striking would have taken him to the finals. After watching the fight between them, I’m still not sure what to expect from Ishihara. At 24 years of age, the product out of Chokushinkai is still learning, and could provide the bout a much more competitive element than it looks on paper.
3. Hirota is favored because he’ll win.
But competitive doesn’t mean close. Hirota has always gotten by on his striking yes, but used with a very heavy base. In addition, he keeps his combinations compact. So compact it almost looks like he’s not throwing out of a particular stance when attacking. With solid raw power in both hands, it’s no wonder Hirota got this far in the tournament. You kind of wonder why they didn’t get a proper veteran foil. Perhaps they figured Wicky would be “it”. Naturally, Ishihara had other plans.
Ishihara is like a Red Bull-less version of Alex Caceres.
Both are lanky, kitchen sink type fighters who get going in the scrambles. And both are somewhat fragile by mixed martial arts standards. Ishihara wings a stiff straight left from his southpaw stance. He chambers his left leg well when he mixes it up. Unfortunately he rarely established a real rhythm, often just reacting where he sees fit. He’s sloppy in general, which is why he only stands a chance if his game has improved (to be fair, they usually do: TUF is never a good time to evaluate fighter performance).
The biggest obstacle here is Hirota’s takedown defense. It’s good even against elite grapplers. Ishihara is barely average in the wrestling department.
Mizuto Hirota via TKO, round 2
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