Sunday, May 8th, 2016 in Rotterdam, Netherlands for UFC Fight Night 87: “Overeem vs. Arlovski” by Daniel Tom

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Kyoji Horiguchi (16-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’5″ Age: 25 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 66″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Chico Camus (9-26-15)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida/Japan)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Multiple Shooto Titles
+   Karate Black Belt (2nd degree)
+   9 KO victories
+   5 First round finishes
+   1 Submission win
+   KO Power
+   Fast hand-speed & footwork
^   Superb blitzes & lateral movement
+   Solid pocket awareness
^   Moves head well
+   Dangerous L. hook & switch-kicks
+   Underrated wrestling ability
^   Good base / always improving
+   Excellent catch-kick counters
+   Devastating ground striker
^   Postures up & positions well
+/-Keeps hands low
–    Gives neck on entries
+   Gets up / scrambles well
+   Durable chin


Neil Seery (16-11)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 36 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 64.5″
  • Last Fight: Sub win / Jon Delos Reyes (10-24-15)
  • Camp: Team Ryano MMA (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Cage Warriors Flyweight Title
+   Purple Belt BJJ
+   6 KO victories
+   3 First round finishes
+   6 Submission wins
+   Heavy hands
+   Solid footwork
^   Will switch stances
+   Well conditioned
^   Consistent pace & pressure
+   Accurate shot selection
+   Hard left body kick
+   Improved takedown defense (60%)
+   Active from bottom
^   Favors over-hooks & elbows
+   Good get-up urgency
+   Dangerous Guillotine choke
–    Struggles in scrambles
–    Keeps/retracts R. hand low
+   Durable chin

UFC Fight Pass comes strong with their featured bout, as flyweight favorites Kyoji Horiguchi & Neil Seery square-off. Coming off a failed bid for the title early in his career, Kyoji Horiguchi has since bounced back with an impressive victory over a tough Chico Camus. Moving his fight camps to the United States, Japan’s most promising prospect will look to make his way back to the top of the mountain.

Standing in Horiguchi’s way will be a tough technical Irishman as Neil Seery will look to build upon momentum of his own. No stranger to young lions, Neil will be fighting his fourth straight prospect that is a decade his junior. Despite 36 being an advanced age for a flyweight, Seery still shows fight-to-fight improvements and is a hard out for anyone in the division.

Even though each fighter comes from different stylistic bases, they have a lot of similarities. With each man favoring left-sided hooks & body kicks as well as possessing accurate shot selections & durable chins, it is hard to see how this does not make for an exciting affair.

Starting off on the feet, Seery will employ a “pressure boxing” style as he consistently switches his stances and angles of approach. What Seery lacks in speed & athleticism, is sufficiently made up for in his ability to technically slip and counter. With a pace & volume that seemingly never slows, Seery will often force his opposition into fighting on his terms.

That said, Neil has never faced a Karate striker of this speed and proficiency. Training in martial arts since the age of 5, Kyoji Horiguchi shows the preternatural understanding of combative ranges you only see from years of emersion. Effectively circling on the outside, Kyoji will masterfully blitz once finding an angle to his liking. What makes Horiguchi an above average Karate striker is his superb pocket awareness and lateral movement, as I see this being a key factor in this fight.

Although Seery is an excellent short & straight puncher, he often follows up his technical entries with winging hooks. Although accurate, these could play into Horiguchi’s hand as the Japanese fighter does a good job of rolling into his lateral exits from the pocket. In doing so, Kyoji will look to plant & counter once getting under and offline of the punches. Favoring a devastating left hook, Seery will have to be especially mindful as he tends to retract his right-hand low.

Though both fighters wield hard body kicks from the left side, Seery may have to mind his attempts as Horiguchi shows a keen ability to catch kicks and counter. Usually parlaying a caught kick into a takedown, Kyoji will use his grasp of a crucial limb to establish a position to ground strike. Although I feel Neil has the more dangerous & deeper arsenal on the mat, Horiguchi should have the overall wrestling and positional advantage.

Neil has a very active & efficient game from the bottom, but the BJJ stylings tend to expose Seery in scramble situations. Despite displaying healthy amounts of urgency to get back to his feet, Neil seems to find himself in trouble when unable to get to the fence or establish a “feet on the hips” push-off. From the guard, Neil shows excellent instincts as he favors over-hooks to work in elbows & offense. However, Horiguchi demonstrates textbook posture and hip positioning that not only may make him unavailable for those controls, but ultimately put Neil in the hot seat should he choose to work from the bottom.

Although not applying a typical grappling pressure topside, Kyoji shows a solid understanding of framing and positional awareness. From his subtle knee & foot placements to his overall hip positioning, Horiguchi will smoothly advance to a perfect cruising altitude that is appropriate for bomb dropping. The space given in this approach can usually allow for room & reactions to stand, but Seery will need to be careful in these transitions as Kyoji is a custom to punishing opponents on their way up and off the breaks.

I feel that the Irishman’s best chance will be by implementing his pressure style in hopes to crack the Karate based fighter. Although Neil’s takedown defense may hamper his efforts to fight on the feet, he possesses a unique threat in transition that could see the light in this matchup. Sometimes forcing takedowns, Kyoji will often leave his neck out. In fact, this scenario has led to Kyoji getting caught in guillotine attempts in 4 of 6 of his last fights. Horiguchi will need to be especially careful in this match, as Seery has a dangerous guillotine choke. Even though the Irishman is one of my favorite underdogs, I feel Horiguchi will have the right of way in this crossroads matchup.

Official Pick: Horiguchi – Decision

Official Outcome: Horiguchi – Decision

Preliminary Card Predictions

  • Wade def. Khabilov
  • Cedenblad def. McLellan
  • Tuck def. Emmett
  • Madadi def. Cabral
  • Horiguchi def. Seery
  • Edwards def. Waters
  • Gates def. Sasaki

Recommended Plays

Fantasy MMA Picks

High Tier Picks:

-Alistair Overeem
-Nikita Krylov
-Kyogi Horiguchi

Low Tier Picks:

-Chris Wade
-Reza Madadi
-Antonio Silva

Pieces for your parlay:

-Kyogi Horiguchi
-Germaine De Randamie
-Albert Tumenov

Props worth looking at(

-De Randamie/Elmose – Over: -120 (2 Units)
-Chris Wade – by Decision: +220 (1 Unit)
-Albert Tumenov – by Decision: +240 (1 Unit)

Fights to avoid:

-Antonio Silva vs Stefan Struve
-Ulka Sasaki vs Willie Gates
-Magnus Cedenblad vs Garreth McLellan

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