Kawajiri came out throwing kicks and switching stances. He employed several spinning attacks, but his game plan was to take Swanson down.
Swanson defended the first takedown attempt, but found himself on his back late in the opening frame. Kawajiri mounted Swanson, but was unable to capitalize on grounding Swanson.
Swanson found his range and timing in the second round, landing combinations. Kawajiri worked to get the fight back to the ground, but Swanson gained top position during a scramble. He quickly took the back of his Japanese opponent and locked on a rear-naked choke. Kawajiri remained poised and fought out of the submission.
Swanson was beginning to take over the fight with his striking when Kawajiri slipped after missing with a winging right hand. Swanson tried to deliver a knee to the body of the downed Kawajiri, but it landed to his head. Referee “Big” John McCarthy stepped in and briefly halted the action due to the illegal knee. Kawajiri indicated that he was okay to continue and the fight was restarted after a warning was given to Swanson.
Kawajiri secured two takedowns in the early going of the final frame, but was unable to control Swanson. Swanson was able to scramble back to his feet on both occasions. He hurt Kawajiri with a left hook and knocked him down with a knee to the body. Kawajiri quickly isolated a leg and went for a heel hook. Swanson freed his leg and took Kawajiri’s back. Kawajiri rolled to gain top position, but Swanson battled back to his feet and went back to landing punches. After fifteen minutes of back-and-forth fighting, Swanson was awarded the victory by unanimous decision.
“My cardio got to me, but I dug deep,” said Swanson following the fight.
The win put Swanson on a two-fight winning streak. It was also the first time in Kawajiri’s 16-year fighting career that he’s lost back-to-back fights.