Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweights Hatsu Hioki and Charles Oliveira went to war on the Fight Pass main card of UFC Fight Night 43 yesterday (Sat., June 28, 2014) from The Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand.
Ultra-talented 24-year-old Oliveira was looking to build momentum after a slick "Performance of the Night"-winning triangle over Andy Ogle at UFC Fight Night 36 in February. After losing his previous two bouts to top-ranked competitors Cub Swanson and Frankie Edgar, "Do Bronx" had experience beyond his years.
He faced a man looking to rebound in Hioki, who returned to the win column with a decision victory over Ivan Menjivar at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "China" Finale earlier this year. The Japanese veteran was still on the ropes after losing his prior three fights, however, so the pressure was on the once-hyped contender.
When it was all said and done in New Zealand, the talented "Do Bronx" had another "Performance of the Night" bonus to his name, adding a milestone to his resume in the process.
The mixed martial arts (MMA) bout kicked off with Oliveira gaining an early takedown. Hioki quickly got up to look for a flying triangle. Oliveira countered with a flying guillotine attempt as the fighters wasted no time in looking for the finish.
Oliveira turned the tables with a solid throw reversal, going for a D’arce choke only to see Hioki take his back. "Do Bronx" recovered to seek a single leg against the fence, following with a sharp elbow when it didn’t work out. Hioki reversed to control the clinch, scoring a body lock takedown to land in Oliveira’s butterfly guard. He postured up to land a few shots and got back to his feet.
A heavy dose of effective clinch work from Hioki ensued, with a bevy of knees finding a home. But, Oliveira turned the tables with a single-leg to go for another D’arce choke and then a guillotine, blasting Hioki with a big knee as the exciting first round came to a close.
Oliveira came out aggressive to start the second, leading with a kick before throwing a flurry of shots. He switched to another single leg, but Hioki quickly bounced back up to secure another body lock takedown. Oliveira swept to search for a heel hook, and an accidental eye poke halted the action.
"Do Bronx" went to work with his Muay Thai clinch when the action restarted, using Hioki’s body lock on him. Hioki swiftly reversed to land on top, fending off Oliveira’s extremely active guard. Oliveira got up to go for a guillotine choke but was countered momentarily. Hioki smothered him in the mount to sink in a hook from the back, seeking a rear-naked choke.
Oliveira escaped to lock on a D’arce choke, sitting down into the hold to become the first-ever man to submit Hioki.
The lethal Brazilian continued to show his development into a world-class fighter. His ground game was furious and varied, proving that his Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills are some of the best in the talented UFC 145-pound division. His Muay Thai is also progressing, making him a tough out for any featherweight from this point on.
If UFC chooses to bring him along a bit slower, "Do Bronx" could square off against the winner of UFC Fight Night 46’s Conor McGregor vs. Diego Brando main event.
It’s gut check time for Hioki. After turning down a title shot at Jose Aldo in 2012, he’s now lost four out of five and the division may be passing him by.
If he doesn’t get cut from UFC, he’s going to have to win his next bout and d it impressively. Hioki is no doubt at tough and talented competitor, but he needs to start putting a stamp on his bouts.
Charles Oliveira continued to build on his insane submission resume by adding Hatsu Hioki to his list of victims at UFC Fight Night 43. What’s next for the rising "Do Bronx?"