Tatsuya Kawajiri may not be well-known in the United States, but to many fans of MMA, Kawajiri is a legend. In the sport, he has fought many big names, including former Pride Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi, former Strikeforce Champion Josh Thomson, and former Strikeforce Champion Gilbert Melendez. After defeating Sean Soriano, who was 8-0 in MMA before fighting Kawajiri, Kawajiri can add winning a UFC fight to his list of accomplishments.
Kawajiri made his UFC debut in Singapore at UFC Fight Night 34 on January 4, 2013. Competing as a big featherweight, Kawajiri tried to outmuscle Soriano to the ground, but Soriano showed great takedown defense and used knees to attack Kawajiri. Eventually, Kawajiri got the takedown and mounted Soriano. From the mount, Kawajiri punished Soriano with punches, but the bell saved Soriano from further punishment.
In the second round, Kawajiri got the takedown again. He sunk in a rear naked choke on Soriano, who tapped. Referee Steve Perceval, however, did not see the tap, and Soriano went unconscious before Perceval stopped the fight.
Kawajiri has dropped from fighting as a lightweight to fighting as a featherweight. Many fans of MMA look forward to seeing him compete against other top featherweights in the UFC.
People in the Inland Empire were able to watch UFC Fight Night 34 by subscribing to UFC Fight Pass on the official UFC website. People can sign up for a free trial until the end of February and have access to many UFC fights.