Tatsuya Kawajiri has today confirmed that his next opponent in the UFC will be fellow grinder Clay Guida in Abu Dhabi on April 4, 2014 for UFC Fight Night 39.
The Crusher will face another man of the same style foundation when he goes up against Guida, so it will be interesting to see if sparks fly or if one man gets the better top position early on. Guida dropped to featherweight in 2012 after losing to both Benson Henderson and Gray Maynard. He debuted against Hatsu Hioki and took a very controversial win by way of his takedowns over the Japanese fighter’s striking. The former Strikeforce Champ then faced another top ranker and was KOed for the first time in his career by Chad Mendes.
Kawajiri’s debut with the UFC was a triumphant one with a finish of prodigy Sean Soriano by his signature “Kawa-Hold”. The win extended his streak to six in almost three years.
The two fighters have had many parallels in their careers. In 2006, within a month of each other, Kawajiri defended his Shooto Championship and Guida won the Strikeforce belt. The same year, Guida then made an appearance in Shooto.
Guida’s Strikeforce performance shot him through WEC and into the UFC, whereas Kawajiri was blistering through PRIDE on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. They have faced quite a few of the same opponents, notably Gilbert Melendez and Takanori Gomi. Guida earned Submission of the Night over Gomi in 2011, whereas Kawajiri’s fight with the Fireball Kid was PRIDE’s Fight of the Year for 2005.