Road to UFC: Japan Episode 9 was the first of the semifinals leading up to the the tournament finale.
Both Hirota and Wicky consider this to be their last shot in MMA. In this episode Hirota will face DJ.taiki for the right to be in the finals on the UFC Jaan card, which takes place on September 27, 2015 in Saitama Super Arena.
Hirota came in to Aerosmith’s “Eat the Rich”. DJ came in with Josh and crew in DJ’s swell-known pink kimono.
It took a while for the first punch, but both clashed at the same time with Hirtoa looking the calmer of the two. DJ seemed to be skittish and ducked when he came in with short punches. Hirota saw this and let DJ flutter himself out. Then DJ tagged Hirota with a big right after a stance switch and used the opportunity to come in with a few more.
Hirot waited it out and stumbled with a hard combination with 2 minutes left and came in with a knee in the clinch. Both fighters were now loosened up and DJ coght Hirota with a long jab and then another niche cross. DJ started looking for KO strikes but Hirota looked in it for the long haul. The cut he created on DJ’s face started to bleed in the final minute of the round. Hirota slipped on a high kick right at the bell.
In the second round, DJ came out aggressive and Hirota backed off, but looked to strike from the outside. DJ’s style was frustrating him. But then Hirota found his timing and came in with a few great combos that landed, and he pushed DJ to the cage. DJ reversed but Hirota eventually got away.
Hirota came in with punches for the clinch to cage again. He got an outside leg trip to land in half guard. Hirota tried to sit up and pound put realized DJ would be a threat from the bottom so he opted to pressure and worked for control of an arm. Hirota got the kimura against the cage but his grip from under DK=J’s head wasn’t letting him crank it. Hirota moved to mount! But then DJ rolled and reversed! DJ ended the round in top position inside Hirota’s guard and throwing a few punches down.
In the third, DJ came out looking to punch but Hirota’s game was drastically different. Hirota immediately sought the clinch and tried for a trip. Failing it, he put DJ to the cage, from there, he got the trip, but DJ quickly got up and earned underhooks. Hirota still had control against the cage.
The ref separated them and DJ went on a wild striking spree. Hirota was glanced by a few, but walked through the barrage. Hirota again put DJ to the cage and tried to trip him. A restart and he almost earned it. At 20 seconds left, DJ fiercely looked for something, but Hirota’s steady persistence looked great.
Hirota earned the judges’ decision.
Roy said that it wasn’t a great fight, but that Hirota had a lot to learn from it and could come back with everything in the finals.
Josh said that Hirota was the smarter fighter. He praised DJ for giving it everything, to the point of almost throwing up.
Ironically, the TV show followed DJ’s post-fight story first. But it was becau
se this was his final hurrah., from his hospital follow up to his room.