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The Downes Side: UFC Japan Predictions

That‘s right boys and girls it‘s time for another Japanese edition of the Downes Side! It may not be as adorable as Hello Kitty, but I‘d like to think it has just as many merchandising possibilities. The UFC merchandise table (and I suppose the fighters) sets up shop in Japan for UFC on FUEL TV 8 live from the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo. No stranger to the venue, Wanderleia Silva returns to Japan looking to recapture some of that old magic. Standing across from him will be former WEC light heavyweight champion and All-American Brian Stann (who was born on a military base in Japan). The co-main event pits two heavyweights on win streaks against one another as Stefan Struve takes on Mark Hunt. Dong Hyun Kim (16-2-1) vs Siyar Bahadurzada (21-4-1)The main card kicks off in the welterweight division with a match between Dong Hyun Kim and Siyar Bahadurzada. The UFC‘s greatest grinder since that time Mike Goldberg made a killer meatball hoagie, Kim has used his wrestling and top control to earn a 7-2 record in the organization, including his most recent win against Paulo Thiago in Novermber. Living up to his nickname “The Great” (recently changed from the less diplomatic The Killer) Bahadurzada showcased his powerful striking as he knocked out Paulo Thiago (rough couple fights for him, huh?) in 42 seconds in April.One of the more powerful 170-pounders in the division, Dong Hyun Kim holds an impressive takedown defense of 80%. What does that have to do with this fight? Absolutely nothing, I just thought it would be nice to say something positive about the Korean before getting down to business. Kim has shown a weakness in the striking game and Bahadurzada is one of the most dangerous hand specialists out there. Siyar will waste no time and punch his way to another first-round TKO.Mizuto Hirota (14-5-1) vs Rani Yahya (17-7)Next we move to the featherweights as WEC veteran Rani Yahya battles Strikeforce transplant Mizuto Hirota. An extremely talented grappler, Yahya secured his 15th career submission win with a first-round north-south choke against Josh Grispi in August. An aggressive striker with solid ground-and-pound, Hirota makes his UFC debut.Yahya has that next-level jiu jitsu that could give anyone difficulties. He failed against Chad Mendes, but Hirota doesn‘t possess that same level of wrestling. Yahya gets this to the ground quickly and immediately advances position. Hirota exposes his back, Yahya pounces and the Brazilian wins via first-round RNC. Yushin Okami (29-7) vs Hector Lombard (32-3-1)On to the middleweight division for Yushin “Thunder” Okami and Hector Lightning Lombard. Okami had already spent the more time inside the Octagon than any other middleweight in UFC history, then padded that record with a unanimous decision win against Alan Belcher at UFC 155. After a UFC debut more disappointing than the first episode of The World According to Paris, Olympic wrestler Lombard returned to his finishing ways with a first-round KO of Rousimar Palhares in December.Okami uses the same gameplan (take down, hold, repeat) for most of his fights and it‘s been fairly successful. People may view Okami‘s style as a delay tactic, but he effectively shuts down his opponent‘s strengths and completely neutralizes any offense. Lombard is neither the world beater we thought nor the bum others claim, but the Tim Boetsch fight showed that he‘s able to be controlled. Lombard‘s questionable cardio will hurt him again as Okami survives the first and then controls the 2nd and 3rd rounds en route to another unanimous decision.Takanori Gomi (34-8) vs Diego Sanchez (25-5)Don‘t appreciate technical grappling and calculated top control? Well this next fight should cleanse the palate. After back-to-back losses put his job in jeopardy, Takanori Gomi (aka The Fireball Kid) rattled off two in a row with victories over Eiji Mitsuoka and Mac Danzig. The mixed martial artist formerly known as The Nightmare, Sanchez has not competed since losing to Jake Ellenberger over a year ago. Effective in all aspects, Sanchez has consistently proven he has a high pain tolerance and will be making his return to lightweight in this bout.Gomi has made a career of finishing opponents. Against such a dangerous opponent, the human instinct for self-preservation usually kicks in, but Diego does not hold this same instinct. He‘ll stand right in front of Gomi and they‘ll get in a firefight. In a fight like this, the man with more power and a better chin wins out… and that‘s Diego Sanchez. The Dream will push forward and eat lots of punches, but he‘ll give back better than he receives. In tight rounds, Sanchez also has the ability to secure the buzzer-beating takedown to steal it away. He‘ll earn a couple new scars in the process, but Sanchez will lock up the decision win. Mark Hunt (8-7) vs Stefan Struve (29-5)Time for the co-main event of the evening as the most verbose man in New Zealand, Mark Hunt, faces the tal…

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