SportsJOE's Monday Morning Awards: Some star performers from an altogether average event 6 years ago

SportsJOE's Monday Morning Awards: Some star performers from an altogether average event

They're not all going to be classics.

The UFC's return to Japan didn't echo the legendary PRIDE days so much as it just filled the space in between fight cards that actually mattered.


Perhaps we're being a little bit harsh but let's just say that the promotion have had better fight nights.

That's not to say there weren't impressive performances and the cream very much rose to the top of an event that nobody would have missed if it hadn't taken place.

Here are the fighters who excited us most at UFC Japan.

Knockout of the Night - Uriah Hall


Not a whole lot of doubt about this and if Hall had just connected a little bit cleaner with his jumping spinning back kick then this would probably have knocked Gegard Mousasi out cold and been a contender for KO of the Year.

As it was, it took an extra flying knee and some ground and pound to get the job done but the fact that Hall rallied after such a terrible first round and finished the battle-tested Mousasi who had never been knocked out before proves that, on his day, the TUF 17 finalist is one of the best strikers at 185 lbs.

Let's just hope he doesn't screw up his momentum as he is wont to do.


Submission of the NightKeita Nakamura

Nakamura had no competition here as he produced the only submission victory of the evening.

It was a technical submission in the end as the Japanese welterweight didn't give Li Jingliang the opportunity to tap out.

Nakamura had lost the opening two rounds but jumped on Jingliang's back midway through the third, sunk in his trademark rear naked choke and choked the Chinese fighter unconscious.


It was a nasty finish as Jingliang faceplanted onto the mat, unable to protect himself, but an altogether impressive comeback from Keita Nakamura.

Performance of the Night - Diego Brandao

We were torn between Diego Brandao and Takeya Mizugaki for this honour but the fact that Brandao didn't even come close to letting Katsunori Kikuno into the fight decided it for us.

It took the Brazilian just 28 seconds to record his second consecutive victory as he released a shower of right hands on the jaw of Kikuno and left the octagon without a scratch on him.


That's a good night's work.

One to Watch - Kyoji Horiguchi

Hardly an "unknown" fighter as Horiguchi's last bout was for a UFC title.

He didn't have enough on that night to dethrone the indomitable Demetrious Johnson but he had more than enough to see off Chico Camus on Saturday.

There was no sense of Horiguchi's confidence being rocked and he dominated the striking throughout, dropping Camus in the second round.

The Japanese flyweight constantly pursued the submission but it wasn't to be and he took a pretty clear unanimous decision to put himself right back in the title frame.