UFC 144 Live on FX: Mizugaki vs. Cariaso Recap

Live on FX: Bantamweights: Takeya Mizugaki (15-6-2) vs. Chris ‘Kamikaze’ Cariaso (12-3)

These fighters are well-rounded strikers that leave most of their fights in the hands of the judges. Mizugaki has knocked out more opponents but has lost half of his last eight fights, including one to Urijah Faber. Cariaso also has a patchy record recently, losing two of his last four. Both fighters won their last bouts and are looking to rebuild a winning streak tonight. This fight is likely to stay on its feet, as both like to bang, but Cariaso will likely look for Muy Thai clinches for heavy knees and elbows; Mizugaki will use his experience to look for weaknesses to exploit. Here’s the call…

Round 1: The fighters measure their distance with feint jabs. Cariaso throws a high kick that misses. They square back up and Cariaso tries it again, to no avail. Mizugaki tries to get close, but Cariaso steps back, keeping the distance. Cariaso is starting to judge his distance and moving in closer. Too close. Mizugaki takes advantage and takes him down. Cariaso goes for an omoplata, but Mizugaki slips out and lands in Cariaso’s full guard. Mizugaki rests in Cariaso’s full guard, then breaks free and connects with a left hand. Cariaso keeps Mizugaki close to his chest to avoid stray punches. Cariaso alternates between butterfly guard and full guard. The ref tells them to work, and the horn blows. Cariaso was pushing the action, but Mizugaki took the round due to the takedown and continued dominant position — could go either way, though.

Round 2: The fighters square up and trade whiffing blows. Mizugaki pushes Cariaso into the fence for a bit, then lets him go. They square up in the middle of the octagon and gauge distance. Cariaso throws a nice high kick, but it doesn’t connect. He throws another that clearly missies. Cariaso is now looking for straight jabs, but Mizugaki is utilizing his reach advantage to keep his distance. Half way through the round, and the fighters trade dominative spots against the fence, trading knees to the midsection. Mizugaki trips Cariaso to the mat, and lands in Cariaso’s full guard.  Mizugaki hovers over Cariaso and drops a couple bombs on Cariaso’s face that don’t fully connect. Cariaso has Mizugaki’s head trapped beneath his arms in a ‘100%’ and transitions to a neck crank. Mizugaki rolls out of it and escapes. The fighters stand up with :10 left in the round, and circle each other until the horn blows. Another round for Mizugaki.

Round 3: The fighters dance a bit, then Cariaso lands a high kick to Mizugaki’s chin — not a clean connection. Mizugaki moves in to push Cariaso against the fence. Once again they trade knees and dominant positions. Cariaso is going for a single leg, but Mizugaki blunts the attempt. Cariaso steps away while landing a swift combination of jabs. Cariaso pushes Mizugaki into the fence. Cariaso exits with another jab combination. Cariaso telegraphs a high kick, and Mizugaki capitalizes by taking him down while Cariaso’s leg is in mid-air. Mizugaki is resting in Cariaso’s tight-grip full guard. Cariaso is staying active with elbows to the head and shoulders, but Mizugaki isn’t going anywhere. Mizugaki lets Cariaso up in the final seconds and they trade a few sharp blows. There’s the horn. I score this fight 30-27, Mizugaki. Here’s the judges call:

Winner: Cariaso (Unanimous Decision: 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 )

The crowd disagrees with the decision and boos loudly.

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