Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight veterans Takeya Mizugaki and George Roop battled last night (Sept. 26, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 75 inside Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
After alternating wins and losses for many years, Mizugaki exploded into a five-fight win streak that earned him a step up in competition. Unfortunately, the Japanese veteran faltered, which left him in a precarious position heading into this bout.
Meanwhile, Roop's career has been pretty inconsistent since its start, and that's continued throughout his current run as a Bantamweight. Despite the recent losses, last night was a major opportunity for Roop to jump into the rankings.
The first round occurred largely in two areas. At distance, both men showed their disdain for head movement by cracking each other with power punches frequently, and neither fighter backed down.
Then, after getting clocked, one of them would close the range into the clinch. From there, both men would work for knees and body punches.
All in all, it was a pretty close round, and both fighters took some damage. However, a late flurry by Mizugaki may have given him a very slight edge.
After a nice combination from Mizugaki, Roop again drove his opponent into the fence to start the second round. The two fighters continued to trade at a pretty high volume and landed a majority of their shots, whether working against the fence or at range.
Overall, it was another very close round. While Mizugaki likely landed the cleaner blows, Roop had an edge in volume and forward pressure.
In short, the third round was of utmost importance for both athletes.
For the second time in a row, Roop started the round by closing the distance and clinching. While it was a fairly questionable tactic for the very lanky fighter, Mizugaki was definitely slowing down a bit and allowing Roop to control him along the fence for much of the round.
The output of both fighters certainly slowed in the third. While neither man landed anything definitive, he did control his opponent against the fence for more of the round and pushed the pace.
After 15 minutes of combat, there was no certain winner. In the end, the judges unanimously gave Mizugaki the 29-28 decision victory.
This was not Mizugaki's best performance, but it was a very important win for him. If the Japanese veteran had lost this fight, he was in serious danger of being released.
Power punches and combinations won Mizugaki this fight, particularly in the first half of the bout. Mizugaki did an excellent job mixing his punches to the body and coming up to crack his opponent's jaw. In particular, Mizugaki's right hand scored consistently for him.
This bout really showed where Mizugaki stands. He probably doesn't deserve his current position in the top 10, but he's definitely worthy of a spot in the rankings and has some gas left in the tank. After this win, one possible option for Mizugaki could be John LIneker.
Roop's game plan of closing the distance and grinding on his opponent in the clinch wasn't necessarily a bad one. In fact, that's how he earned the decision in his UFC bantamweight debut, and he's pretty good at it.
The problem is that Mizugaki is really good in the clinch as well. Instead of repeatedly forcing his way into the clinch to accomplish very little -- and ultimately make the fight extremely close -- Roop should have mixed it up more. If he tired Mizugaki out and then stepped back to score for a minute or two with his range kickboxing, he likely could've won the decision.
On the bright side, Roop also showed he's still a worthy member of the UFC roster. However, he's now lost three of his last four, and he should receive a step back in competition. For example, a bout with Henry Briones would make sense.
Last night, Takeya Mizugaki earned a unanimous decision win by out-boxing George Roop. Is Mizugaki still a Top 10 talent?
For complete UFC Fight Night 75 "Barnett vs Nelson" results and play-by-play click HERE!