The Ultimate Fighting Championship is kicking off their 2014 campaign with UFC Fight Night 34 which will come from Marina Bay, Singapore. While some individuals aren't as excited about the card because it doesn't feature big names in the sport that they know; there is still quality to take away from the event. The co-main event of the night will involve Tatsuya Kawajiri who is a legend in Japanese MMA and his style should excite the mainstream American fans.
“Crusher” is a fighter that has nearly 14 years of professional experience and during that career has become known for his violent, attacking style. At 35 years of age he may be past his fighting prime but he still has the abilities to put on a show which is just as important in the entertainment aspect of MMA. Coming into his UFC debut he's riding a five fight win streak that includes some names that are prominent within the sport. His signing has flown under the radar in a sense but he's one of the main stories to watch this weekend.
With a record of 32 wins and 7 losses, Kawajiri displays a diversity that isn't always seen within the sport. Twelve wins have come by some form knockout, 10 by decision and another nine by submission. His ledger includes some of the most important names that have graced the lighter weight classes of mixed martial arts. Michihiro Omigawa, Joachim Hansen, Josh Thomson, Gesias Cavalcante and Yves Edwards have all been handled by Tatsuya at some point in time. His defeats have come to fighters long considered the best at lightweight such as Eddie Alvarez, Gilbert Melendez, Takanori Gomi and Shinya Aoki. He has a resume that can easily compare to any of the current 145 pounders on the roster.
Dropping to featherweight to make this debut is a big more for Kawajiri as well. While the lack of name recognition that he carries will be a hurdle in getting him a quick title shot; if he rattles off some dominating wins he should be considered among the best in the weight class. Potential opponents such as Dustin Poirier, Dennis Siver and Chang Sung Jung are all worth value to the UFC in 2014. But first he has to get through the also debuting, 8-0 Sean Soriano.
The UFC's signing of Tatsuya Kawajiri wasn't as widely recognized as it should have been, but UFC Fight Night 34 is the prime opportunity to change that. The Japanese standout has the opportunity to blow the doors off of his Octagon debut and kick off what should be an interesting 2014 for the featherweight division.