Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight finishers Tom Breese and Keita Nakamura scrapped last night (Feb. 27, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 84 inside The O2 Arena in London, England.
Just two fights into his UFC career, Breese had already established himself as a major prospect. The 24 year old was a gigantic favorite last night, and he was looking to prove those odds accurate in devastating fashion.
Meanwhile, Nakamura managed to pull off a fantastic come-from-behind submission victory against a solid up-and-comer in his last bout. In order to put together consecutive wins inside the Octagon, Nakamura needed to pull that rabbit out of his hat once more.
To be quite honest, UFC Fight Pass had a meltdown during the introduction to this fight, so I missed the first round. Nonetheless, I'm told it was a clear but slow round for Breese, who stalked his opponent for most of the round..
After being taken down to start the second round, Breese used a heel hook to sweep his opponent into the half guard. It took him a couple minutes of work to get his ground striking going, but Breese began scoring with some nasty elbows from top position once that happened.
However, Nakamura proved his grappling skill by using a deep omoplata to sweep his opponent. However, by the time top position was secured, the clock had run out on Nakamura.
While it was a clear round for Breese, it was hardly a dominant display.
Breese opened the third round with some pressure and a nice jab, but Nakamura countered by initiating a takedown. The Japanese veteran eventually finished that shot, but Breeze used another slick leg lock to reverse his opponent.
Only to be swept almost immediately by his opponent.
From his back, Breese showed off his slick grappling game, looking to roll up and sweep or stand up numerous times. However, Nakamura also showed his veteran prowess by hanging in there with the prospect, making it a very close round.
And, for that matter, fight.
Regardless, Breese ultimately took the unanimous decision, though it was far more difficult for him than expected.
It wasn't a stunning finish, but Breeze did show off some nice skill in this bout. His pressure striking is very slick, and he makes great use of the Southpaw jab. Furthermore, Breeze did a very nice job attacking from the bottom with the objective of sweeping, which allowed him to stay ahead on the scorecards.
However, the areas in which Breeze needs to improve were also revealed. For one, Breeze is very flat-footed, and it allowed his opponent to get in on takedown attempts. From there, Nakamura's chain wrestling was rather effective, whereas most fighters simply bounced off.
Nonetheless, Breese is still a very solid prospect. This fight shows that a huge step up in competition is not necessary just yet, but someone like Court McGee would be a solid test for the Englishman.
Despite the loss, Nakamura's performance was really impressive. Against a fighter that was setup to wreck havoc on him, "K-Taro" brought his foe into his world and made the bought extremely close. He even threatened with an omoplata and came closer to ending up in the finishing position than the vast majority of fighters.
This may be a loss, but it solidifies Nakamura's position inside UFC. He very much fits the role of wily veteran, and he's a great test for Welterweight's many prospects. He may never go on a title run, but Nakamura is a game fighter with slick grappling skill who should be able to stick around.
Last night, Tom Breese continued to climb the ranks by out-grappling Keita Nakamura. How high can Breese climb in the talent-rich Welterweight division?
For complete UFC Fight Night 84: "Silva vs Bisping" results and play-by-play, click HERE!