It’s been several years in the making, but Japanese veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri finally made his Octagon debut at UFC Singapore on Saturday.
His opponent, Sean Soriano, may have been better than many had anticipated, but the result wasn’t a surprise to hardly anyone, as Kawajiri scored a second-round submission victory.
Kawajiri taking an opponent down, softening them up, and securing a submission victory is nothing new. Him doing so in the Octagon, however, is.
Kawajiri has been fighting mixed martial arts professionally since the year 2000. Over the past 14 years, however, he has fought primarily in Japan, rising through the ranks of Shooto, Pride, and Dream.
In making his Octagon debut, Kawajiri immediately went after the takedown, but Soriano did a good job defending Kawajiri’s first attempts. The Japanese veteran eventually secured the takedown, however, took Soriano’s back, and locked on a body triangle, but couldn’t secure a finish.
He stepped it up in round two, scoring an early takedown, and this time quickly applying a rear naked choke. Soriano tapped out, but the referee didn’t see it, so he instead went to sleep.
Kawajiri’s victory came at the 50-second mark of round two, finally launching him into the featherweight ranks of the UFC.
Kawajiri did not declare any specific person that he’d like to fight next, only saying that he wanted to fight tougher opponents and get to the top of the division.