Dennis Siver and Tatsuya Kawajiri stepped into the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 69: Jedrzejczyk vs. Penne at the O2 World in Berlin on Saturday, each looking to get back on track after losing their most recent bouts.
For Kawajiri, that most recent bout was a loss to Clay Guida more than a year ago. He had since been sidelined with a detached retina. Siver, meanwhile, fought in January in a losing effort to Conor McGregor.
With Kawajiri at 37 years of age and Siver at 36, both mean are getting up there in age for the fight game, and know that a run at a UFC belt needed to start with this fight.
Siver started strong, going after Kawajiri with punches, while Kawajiri clearly wanted to get the fight to the canvas early. Try as he might, however, Kawajiri was stuffed on takedown after takedown. Siver landed some solid inside leg kicks to the Japanese fighter’s lead leg and rocked him a bit with a couple solid left hooks and a spinning back kick.
The second frame started off much the same as the first, with Siver returning to the center of the Octagon, landing a back kick, a few punches, and some lead leg kicks. Kawajiri kept after the takedown, and finally got it midway through the round. He remained in top position on the mat for the remainder of the round.
At one point, Kawajiri passed to full mount on the German. He landed a few punches and elbows, but wasn’t able to mount a lot damage, although he controlled a good portion of the round.
Round three played out nearly identical to round two. Both men were throwing bombs at the opening of the frame, but neither landed much. Midway through the round, Kawajiri again secured a takedown, although Siver had his head locked up in a guillotine as they hit the mat.
Kawajiri escaped the submission attempt, stayed on top of Siver for the remained of the fight, and in the final 30 seconds, landed several short elbows.
At the end of the day, Kawajiri’s controlling strategy paid off. He did enough to maintain control in the second and third rounds to earn a unanimous nod from the judges and get back on track for a run at the belt.
Kawajiri has been fighting for a decade and a half, but at 34-8-2, the legendary Japanese fighter isn’t done yet.