Michihiro Omigawa (left) overcame a slow start to capture his first UFC win. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Michihiro Omigawa tasted victory for the first time in five UFC appearances, as the 2009 Sengoku Raiden Championship featherweight grand prix finalist defeated former Cage Rage champion Jason Young by unanimous decision at UFC 138 “Leben vs. Munoz” on Saturday at the LG Arena in Birmingham, England.
Omigawa (13-10-1, 1-4 UFC) swept the scorecards by identical 29-28 scores.
Omigawa overcame a slow start and tightened his grip on a much-needed win over the final 10 minutes. The 35-year-old judo black belt mixed effective standup with trip takedowns and ground-and-pound. A protégé of 1992 Olympic gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida, Omigawa’s attack exhausted Young (8-5, 0-2 UFC as the fight deepened. He closed with a strong third round, as he delivered another takedown, threatened with various submissions and dropped elbows and punches from above.
“It’s been quite tough, especially in the last fight, where the decision went against me, so it’s good to get my first [UFC] win here,” said Omigawa, who dropped a widely panned verdict to Darren Elkins at UFC 131 in June. “Of course, it’s been playing on my mind since the last fight, but I tried not to let it get to me. It did make me want to win this fight even more.”
Maguire Topples Edwards
John Maguire notched his sixth straight win in his promotional debut, as he outwrestled, out-grappled and outhustled “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 13 alum Justin Edwards en route to a tidy unanimous decision in their preliminary welterweight duel. The 28-year-old British Association of Mixed Martial Arts veteran carried the scorecards by matching 30-27 counts.
“I’ve waited for this,” Maguire said. “He’s stubborn. I’ve seen him fight. I can wrestle, and I’m good on the ground. I proved that some Brits can wrestle and submit.
A slow start for the two aspiring welterweights gave way to dominance from Maguire (17-3, 1-0 UFC). He grounded Edwards in the second and third rounds, securing his position with body triangles, all while assaulting his foe with punches from behind and hunting for chokes. Edwards (7-2, 1-2 UFC) became less and less of a factor as the fight wore on, as Maguire sent the Jorge Gurgel understudy to his second loss in three outings.
“It feels brilliant,” Maguire said. “I’m not going to lie. I thought I was going to have a heart attack coming out here, but I held it together.”
Unbeaten De Fries Decisions Broughton
Takedowns, superior conditioning and effective topside grappling carried undefeated prospect Philip De Fries to a unanimous decision over former Cage Rage champion Rob Broughton in a heavyweight showdown on the undercard. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for De Fries (8-0, 1 NC, 1-0 UFC).
De Fries spent time in side control, full mount and north-south position during the competitive 15-minute encounter. Broughton (15-7-1, 1-2 UFC) did his best work in round two, as he swept into top position with an attempted kimura, secured a mounted crucifix and unleashed punches and elbows.
It did not dissuade De Fries, however, as the 25-year-old Sunderland, England, native bounced back in the third, grounded his foe and did enough to warrant a unanimous nod.
Mills Knee Stops Cope in 40 Seconds
Former Cage Rage welterweight champion Che Mills needed less than a minute to dispatch Chris Cope, as he stopped “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 13 finalist on a first-round knee strike. Cope (5-2, 1-1 UFC) met his end 40 seconds into round one.
Mills (14-4, 1 NC, 1-0 UFC) dazzled in his first Octagon appearance, as he extended his winning streak to five bouts. A right hook, a thudding knee and follow-up punches put Cope on the defensive, and another knee to the head closed it out. Mills, 29, now has 11 first-round finishes on his resume.
Cariaso Outpoints Newcomer Lee
The San Francisco-based Chris Cariaso recorded his sixth win in eight fights, as he captured a split decision from Octagon rookie Vaughan Lee in the bantamweight opener. All three judges scored it 29-28, two of them for the 30-year-old Cariaso (12-3, 2-1 UFC).
Lee (11-7-1, 0-1 UFC), who entered his promotional debut on the strength of a three-fight winning streak, started strong but lost his foothold in the match. The two men traded takedowns in the second round, but Cariaso started to land in tight quarters and ultimately moved to full mount after he grounded the Englishman.
The fight followed a similar pattern in round three, which was even more one-sided. Cariaso struck for another takedown, mounted again and forced Lee to surrender his back. The Californian later returned to mount and dropped elbows as Lee rolled to his stomach in retreat. Cariaso closed out the match with the threat of a rear-naked choke.
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