SINGAPORE – It took him half a round to get started, but when he did, Tatsuya Kawajiri announced his presence in the UFC’s featherweight division.
Making a long-awaited UFC debut, Kawajiri choked out Sean Soriano quickly into the second round after dominating him the latter half of the first. The end came 50 seconds into the second.
The featherweight bout was the co-main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 34 event at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore. It streamed on the UFC’s new Fight Pass digital network.
Kawajiri had no hesitation going to the center of the cage to open, but Soriano landed a good knee and kick before fending off a Kawajiri takedown attempt. Kawajiri quickly went back after the takedown, and 40 seconds in he wrapped Soriano up. But again, Soriano stopped it and landed a big knee that cut Kawajiri open.
Kawajiri relentlessly pursued the takedown, and finally got it. Soriano popped up and landed solid elbows, but Kawajiri brought him back to the floor. Soriano again recovered, but Kawajiri stayed true to his game plan. Back on the canvas, he went after a rear-naked choke with a body triangle locked up. Soriano survived the first round after eating tons of ground and pound for the final 15 seconds. But in the second half of the frame, it was Kawajiri dominating.
Kawajiri took Soriano down quickly in the second and tied him up again. Again, he went after the rear-naked choke, and this time he had it. Soriano tapped – but referee Steve Perceval didn’t wave the fight off, and a second later, Soriano went limp. Perceval then realized Soriano was out and pulled Kawajiri off.
An elated Kawajiri screamed out, “Hello America! Hello UFC!” He then, in English, asked the UFC to give him a featherweight title shot before saying, “I want to fight someone stronger than this. I can be stronger with a stronger opponent – but I was surprised that Soriano was so good.”
Kawajiri (33-7-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) won for the sixth straight time. Soriano (8-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) lost for the first time in his pro career.
Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 34 results include:
- Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Sean Soriano via technical submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 0:50
- Kiichi Kunimoto def. Luiz Dutra via disqualification (illegal elbows) – Round 1, 2:57
- Kyung Ho Kang def. Shunichi Shimizu via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 3, 3:53
- Max Holloway def. Will Chope via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:27
- Katsunori Kikuno def. Quinn Mulhern via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Royston Wee def. David Galera via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
- Mairbek Taisumov def. Tae Hyun Bang via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Dustin Kimura def. Jon Delos Reyes via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 2:13
- Russell Doane def Leandro Issa via submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 4:59
For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 34, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
John Morgan contributed to this report on-site in Singapore.