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UFC 182 fight card: Kyoji Horiguchi vs Louis Gaudinot fight preview

Kyoji Horiguchi and Louis Gaudinot will look to climb the flyweight ranks this Saturday (Jan. 3, 2015) at UFC 182 inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Between these two quick karate strikers, what adjustments must be made for either man in order to claim victory? Find out how below!

Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) flyweights Kyoji Horiguchi and Louis Gaudinot scrap this Saturday (Jan. 3, 2015) at UFC 182 inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Horiguchi is Japan's brightest hope for a future UFC champion. The 24 year old is undefeated thus far in his UFC career and has looked dominant in each of his victories.

Gaudinot has run into a rough patch. Outside of an impressive victory over current top 10 contender John Lineker, "Goodnight" is winless inside the Octagon, as his quick submission win over Phil Harris was overturned due to a failed drug test.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for each fighter.

Kyoji Horiguchi

Record: 14-1

Key Wins: Darrell Montague (UFC Fight Night 40), Dustin Pague (UFC 166)

Key Losses: None

Keys to Victory: Horiguchi is a longtime karate practitioner and brings the skills into the Octagon excellently. Bouncing around the cage rapidly, "Supernova" shocks his opponent with his ability to close the distance with both takedowns and punches.

Like his bout with Darrell Montague, this is another fight with a well-rounded opponent for the up-and-coming Japanese fighter to develop against. And like that fight with "The Mongoose," Horiguchi holds a number of advantages over his opponent.

In addition to being the better striker and likely wrestler, Horiguchi is probably the better athlete of the two fighters. Though Gaudinot may be able to match his speed, he also has a habit of getting muscled around the Octagon, which has yet to be a problem for Horiguchi.

With all that in mind, Horiguchi should look to blend his takedowns and power punches together. Gaudinot may have a solid chin, but he's plenty hittable and pretty easily controlled from top position, making him an excellent style match up for Horiguchi.

Horiguchi does need to be mindful of his opponent's guillotine when he does shoot. Both of Gaudinot's UFC wins* came via that choke, and Horiguchi does not want to stumble into a loss.

Louis Gaudinot

Record: 6-3 (1)

Key Wins: John Lineker (UFC on FOX 3)

Key Losses: Tim Elliott (UFC 164), Johny Bedford (TUF 14 Finale)

Keys to Victory: Like his opponent, Gaudinot has a background in karate, and currently is a part of Team Tiger Schulmann. In addition, Gaudinot is an effective grappler, with his guillotine choke as the highlight of his submission arsenal.

Without mincing words, Gaudinot is facing a seriously tough match up here. He's something of a high volume striker that relies on movement, but Horiguchi is more polished on his feet and has a pretty serious power advantage.

Therefore, Gaudinot cannot really hope to win a technical battle with the Japanese import. Instead, he needs to make this fight an ugly scrap like his bout with Lineker. Luckily, Gaudinot has the chin to survive such a game plan.

Thus far, Horiguchi's takedown defense has been excellent. As is the case for many karate fighters, their takedown defense is largely based around their movement, which makes it difficult for wrestlers to time their shots.

If Gaudinot can force Horiguchi to plant his feet and exchange, an opportunity for a takedown will arise. Alternatively, Gaudinot could transition into the clinch and look for both strikes and takedowns from there.

Either way, Gaudinot needs to constantly pressure his opponent and attempt to force a wild brawl.

Bottom Line: Any fight involving Horiguchi -- arguably the division's finest prospect -- is very important for the flyweight division. It's because of him that this fight made it to a pay-per-view (PPV) main card in the first place.

There's a pretty decent amount of pressure on Horiguchi to perform. Outside of Yushin Okami -- who's in the midst of his own rough patch -- Japan hasn't produced any top contenders recently. Fair or not, that leaves Horiguchi left alone to achieve success and hopefully please his home country's fans.

Consequently, the UFC is bringing Horiguchi along at a measured pace, but a loss would be devastating.

This may be a do-or-die fight for Gaudinot. If he loses this bout, his current UFC record would sit at 1-3 (1), which is far from impressive. The only thing that may save him is his strength of schedule and the current lack of depth at flyweight.

However, a victory would undoubtedly be the largest win of "Goodnight's" career. Horiguchi has a ton of hype behind him and has been largely untouchable at flyweight, so a Gaudinot victory would be quite impressive.

At UFC 182, Kyoji Horiguchi and Louis Gaudinot will look to make their mark on the flyweight division. Which man will take home the victory?

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