MICHINORI TANAKA’s hugely successful debut at UFC 174, recap and play by play

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UFC 174 took place on June 14, 2014 in Vancouver, Canada. Michninori Tanaka made his debut is a highly dominating way, with a full range of skills and control.

Tanaka furstrated Delorme on the feet by skirting and quick side-to-side movement. Tanaka’s throws took the action to the ground in every round where he used strong top control to pressure Delorme and sporadically throw short, devastating elbows that bruised Delorme and eventually opened up a cut under his right eye.

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Delorme has a moment with a nice reversal in the third, but it his success was short-lived. Tanaka’s incredible balance and instinctive ability to take advantage of small openings allowed him to ring the game back to his world every single time.

Tanaka deservedly took the Unanimous Decision, and carries a very notable first impression out of his Octagon debut.

Play by play:

Tanaka enters the cage first, ahead of his Canadian foe. Roland Delorme is not only a TUF veteran, but also a judo black belt. Delorme has a reach and height advantage.

Delorme takes the center of the cage and Tanaka skirts him. Delorme with a flurry and Tanaka returns a low kick. Tanaka shoots, misses, and clips Delorme on the way out. Tanaka kicks, Delorme grabs a heel for the take down and mounts. Tanaka with a nice and fact reversal. Delorme takes the chance for a triangle attempt and Tanaka postures out. Tanaka puts it against the cage and Delome tries climbing his legs again. Delorme looks for the sweep, Tanaka pressures from inside guard and throws short elbows. Tanaka thinks to pass when Delorme opens guard, but Delorme sneaks a punch in. Tanaka with more pressure and another brutal elbow. Tanaka ends the round with punches to the body.

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Round two begins and Delorme connects. Delorme frustrated by Tanaka’s skirting and baits him in, but Tanaka doesn’t oblige. Tanaka clinches against the cage and gets a throw, lands inside Delorme’s guard. Tanaka mixing up punches to body and head, Delorme staying active from guard, but not having success with anything. Tanaka passes to half guard, looks for a butterfly sweep, but Tanaka balances and eventually works to mount briefly. Delorme recovers guard. Tanaka throws an elboow and continues to keep Delorme flat on his back. Tanaka targeting a cut on Delorme’s brow with crisp elbows at the end of the round.

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Round three and Tanaka is still bouncy. Delorme’s corner said to come out with heavy hands, but he looks sapped. Tanaka comes in with a flurry, Delorme turns his back and Tanaka swarms for the drawdown. Delorme tries a reversal but Tanaka doesn’t let him. Delomre reverses to mount! But Tanaka spins and gets back inside his guard! Tanka postures out of a triangle attempt, pressures and goes back to his bread and butter elbows. Delorme tries to sit up, Tanaka punishes with three elbows. Delorme hip escapes to half guard. Tanaka still pressures, balances, and pounds on him. Delorme looks to butterfly sweep, turns his back, Tanaka takes it and drags him back down. At ten seconds he looks for a choke. Takafumi Otsuka is screaming orders from his corner.

Tanaka wins, and apologises for not putting on an exciting fight, as he feels he was too conservative in his debut.

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