UFC Fight Night 75The UFC’s latest trip to Japan went down on Saturday night (or Sunday morning, if you’re from Japan) and while the card started out slow, it took a nice turn in the middle to provide some solid entertainment, and the main card featured a couple good fights and a pair of incredible stoppages. The main event was between heavyweights Josh Barnett and Roy Nelson, and it ended up being a fairly exciting affair as well. All told, the 10-fight card saw 7 favorites pick up wins, 2 underdogs pull off the upset, and 1 draw. Here’s how the results broke down based on the closing odds from 5Dimes Sportsbook. Favorites That Won Josh Barnett returned after a nearly two-year absence, and reasserted himself in the heavyweight division’s top 10 with a victory over Roy Nelson. ‘Big Country’ found some early success with wrestling, but Barnett found his way inside Nelson’s overhand right, and dominated the fight from the clinch, landing knees and dirty boxing Nelson for extended stretches of the bout. With the form he showed in Japan, Barnett will be a handful for anyone in the heavyweight division, and may even find his way to a title shot given the wide-open nature of the heavyweight division with Fabricio Werdum as the champion. Barnett was a -320 favorite when the books closed the lines for the bout. Chico Camus is a perfectly capable flyweight in the UFC, he’s just not on the same level as the top guys in the division. Henry Cejudo showed that at UFC 188, and Kyoji Horiguchi showed it again on Saturday. The former flyweight title challenger was quicker to the punch, and brought a cleaner, more diverse, and more powerful striking style that kept him ahead of Camus the entire fight and easily cashed the -390 tickets his bettors held. Perhaps Takeya Mizugaki’s greatest accomplishment in his decision victory over George Roop was managing to stay awake as Roop repeatedly pushed him up against the cage. Roop offered no other offense throughout the fight, and Mizugaki won virtually every exchange across the 15 minutes. It was a good rebound for the -230 favorite after two consecutive stoppage losses in the UFC. It is probably going to take you about as long to read this recap as it took for Diego Brandao to dispatch Katsunori Kikuno. Brandao started the fight by walking forward, and when he’s able to do that it’s usually bad for his opponents. A few overhand rights, a toss from the clinch, and some brutal follow up shots that caused Kikuno to faceplant into the cage (not the best faceplant of the night, mind you) and spelled the end for the Japanese fighter. Brandao cashed -230 tickets for bettors without even the hint of a sweat. In a fight that featured about as many high-fives as strikes landed, Nick Hein picked up a unanimous decision over Yusuke Kasuya. Hein was the cleaner striker throughout the bout, even though Kasuya was the one moving forward. The gap in the fight didn’t mirror the betting line of -355 for Hein, but he picked up another win to move to 3-1 in his UFC career. Kajan Johnson used his superior striking and movement to sting Naoyuki Kotani at will on the feet, rocking him on a couple occasions, and picking up a decision. Kotani managed to drag the fight to the ground in the third round, but was unable to truly capitalize on the position, and all it did was earn him a round on two judges’ scorecards. Johnson closed at -300, and his victory was never really in doubt. The closest line heading into the evening’s bouts saw Shinsho Anzai just a -110 favorite over Roger Zapata. Anzai controlled the majority of the fight with his grappling, and ending up picking up a stoppage victory when Zapata injured his finger in a third round exchange. Underdogs That Won Uriah Hall pulled off perhaps the upset of the year, and perhaps the knockout of the year as he stunned Gegard Mousasi. After being dominated for much of the opening round, Hall opened the second with a jumping, spinning back kick that rocked Mousasi. He then followed up with a perfectly placed flying knee that dropped his opponent. By that point it was academic, as a few more shots on the ground forced the ref to step in (multiple times) to call a halt to the bout. Hall was the second-largest underdog on the card, cashing at +340 for those who had a bit of faith in him. Keita Nakamura returned to the UFC for the first time since 2008 in his home country, and was a rare underdog victor on the card. The bout started out well for K-Taro, knocking Jingliang Li down in the opening round, but things took a turn for the worse in the second as Li battered him with strikes. That looked to continue in the final stanza, but Nakamura deftly took his foe’s back, and produced perhaps the most visually memorable rear-naked choke finish in UFC history as Li passed out and violently faceplanted to end the fight and signal Nakamura the +265 winner. Draw The ‘Road to UFC Japan’ tournament concluded without a victor, as Mizuto Hirota and Teruto Ishihara fought to a split draw. The younger Ishihara started out quickly, landing numerous heavy strikes through the bout’s first half. As he began to tire, Hirota was able to land his own combinations at closer range. Ishihara found some of his early success again in the third round, but Hirota kept the pressure on, and while one judge scored the round for each fighter, a third determined it a 10-10, thus creating the draw.


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