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UFC 240 - New Blood: Pancrase in Edmonton

International events give Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) an opportunity to fill out the undercard with new and promising mixed martial arts (MMA) hopefuls. And even though it only managed to round up one new Canadian for UFC 240 in Edmonton this weekend (Sat., July 27, 2019), Tanner Boser, it was a Brazilian, Giacomo Lemos, who screwed it all up with a failed drug test literally hours before showtime. That leaves us with just one Octagon newcomer this weekend to introduce on this edition of “New Blood,” the series where my Fight Pass subscription barely maintains its value now that half of its programming is on ESPN+.

Yoshinori Horie

Weight Class: Featherweight
Age: 24
Record: 8-1 (5 KO)
Significant Victories: Katsushi Sugiyama, Hiroshige Tanaka

Horie — training under the venerable “TK” Kosaka — has spent the entirety of his career in his native Japan, fighting under the Pancrase banner. After winning his first six fights, he ran into UFC veteran Issei Tamura, who caught him with a heavy right hand and swarmed for the finish. He has since bounced back with a pair of first-round knockouts, the most recent of which saw him finish ONE veteran Hiroshige Tanaka in March.

Despite less than three years of professional MMA experience, Horie is a surprisingly polished and profoundly quick striker with dynamite in his right hand. His kicks are equally fast and untelegraphed, making him dangerous at both mid- and long-range, and he doesn’t neglect the body. He had a habit of overcommitting to his shots early in his career, which got him clipped by Tamura, but he seems to have taken the loss to heart and shown greater patience in recent efforts.

As aggressive as he can be, his counter right is his best punch. It’s lightning-fast, bringing to mind one of my favorite old-school Bellator fighters in Shahbulat Shamhalaev.

His grappling is in the “not bad, but could use work” stage. He doesn’t have a great long-range shot, but is adept at popping back up when taken down and can generally hold his own in the clinch. He did, however, get stuck on the fence for a while in one of his recent fights against a low-tier opponent before crushing him with a right hand on the break. Breaking the clinch and circling out should be his primary area of concern in training.

If you can’t tell already, I’m pretty high on this kid. He needs to tighten up his wrestling, but he’s fun to watch and could probably already beat the Kyle Bochniaks and Charles Rosas of the division. At only 24, he’s got plenty of time to develop — keep an eye on him.

Opponent: He gets a decidedly unfriendly welcome in Hakeem Dawodu, whom I remain a fan of despite his disastrous Octagon debut. Dawodu is more proven against top competition and has a more versatile striking offense, which should be enough to overcome the speed disparity. It’ll be a blast while it lasts, at least.

Tape: Horie’s Pancrase bouts are on Fight Pass


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 240 fight card this weekend, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2 at 8 p.m. ET, before the pay-per-view (PPV) main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 240: “Holloway vs. Edgar” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.