Katsunori Kikuno made good on his UFC debut. | Mitch Viquez/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
After a long and successful run on the Japanese mixed martial arts circuit, Katsunori Kikuno finally set foot inside the hallowed Octagon of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The 32-year-old karateka made the most of his opportunity.
Kikuno (22-5-2, 1-0 UFC) notched his sixth straight victory, as he downed former King of the Cage champion Quinn Mulhern by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 34 “Saffiedine vs. Lim” on Saturday at the Marina Bay Sands in Marina Bay, Singapore. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for Kikuno.
Perhaps troubled by the weight cut to 155 pounds or the damage inflicted upon his right eye, Mulhern (18-4, 0-2 UFC) resorted to pulling guard throughout the 15-minute encounter. Kikuno gladly settled into top position and peppered the Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative with short punches and hammerfists. On the feet, Kikuno neutralized the New Mexican’s height and reach advantage with kicks to the body and the occasional uppercut, left hook and knee strike.
Holloway Barrage Dispatches Chope
Max Holloway put away Will Chope with a vicious volley of second-round punches in a preliminary featherweight tilt. Buried by the barrage, Chope (19-6, 0-1 UFC) wilted 2:27 into round two, his 14-fight winning streak a thing of the past.
Holloway (8-3, 4-3 UFC) survived a significant push from the 6-foot-4 newcomer in the first half of round one. Late in the frame, the 22-year-old had Chope ducking for cover along the fence and unleashed a wicked burst of knees to the body. Chope was never the same.
In the second round, Holloway picked up where he left off, assaulting the Sacramento, Calif., native with punches while mixing in a nasty spinning back kick to the body. Chope weathered the initial attack but could not withstand what followed. Another round of heavy power punches to the head dropped him where he stood and forced referee Leon Roberts to intervene.
Unbeaten Wee Outpoints Galera
Takedowns and an active top game carried Singapore’s Royston Wee to a unanimous verdict over Universal Reality Combat Championship titleholder Dave Galera in a preliminary bantamweight affair. Wee (3-0, 1-0 UFC) swept the scorecards by matching 30-26 marks.
Wee short-circuited his counterpart’s plans with repeated takedowns and mild ground-and-pound, opening a small cut near the Lakay MMA representative’s right eye with an elbow strike in the first round. Galera (5-1, 0-1 UFC) stayed busy off his back, but his sweep and submission attempts proved unsuccessful. With frustration building, he was docked a point for an illegal upkick late in round three.
Prospect Taisumov Outduels Bang
Tiger Muay Thai’s Mairbek Taisumov recorded his ninth win in 10 appearances, as he cruised to a unanimous decision over Sengoku alum Tae Hyun Bang in an undercard clash at 155 pounds. All three judges arrived at the same verdict: 30-27 for Taisumov (21-4, 1-0 UFC).
Content to counter, Bang (16-8, 0-1 UFC) never seemed comfortable. Taisumov attacked him with kicks to the legs, body and head while mixing in timely takedowns. The 25-year-old Chechen-born Austrian prospect staggered Bang with a left hook in the first round and kept him off-balance with takedowns, jabs and kicks over the final 10 minutes. Taisumov put the exclamation point on his latest victory with an exquisite judo throw in the bout’s waning moments.
Kimura Armbar Submits Delos Reyes
Gracie Technics export Dustin Kimura submitted Jon delos Reyes with a first-round armbar in a preliminary bantamweight battle. Kimura (11-1, 2-1 UFC) finished the job 2:13 into round one.
Delos Reyes (7-3, 0-1 UFC) enjoyed early success with his standup, as he cracked the Hawaiian with multiple left hooks and floored him with a short right. However, the Guamanian newcomer elected to engage Kimura on the ground. The 24-year-old dodged heavy fire from above and chained together a number of submission attempts before cinching the fight-ending armbar.
Doane Triangle Finishes Issa
Russell Doane choked former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Leandro Issa unconscious with a second-round triangle in an undercard scrap at 135 pounds. Evolve MMA’s Issa (11-4, 0-1 UFC) went to sleep 4:59 into round two.
Doane (13-3, 1-0 UFC) succumbed to a pair of takedowns from the One Fighting Championship veteran in the first round but more than held his own on the ground, sweeping briefly into mount before settling on the Brazilian’s back with ground-and-pound. Issa later locked up a triangle choke of his own, but his inability to finish the Hawaiian proved costly.
In the second round, Doane utilized an effective sprawl, wobbled his counterpart with a series of overhand rights and trapped Issa in the mounted crucifix. Issa escaped into top position, only to be met by a triangle from the bottom. Soon after, he slipped into unconsciousness, his Octagon debut spoiled.