UFC 182 Flyweight Preview: up-and-comer Kyoji Horiguchi vs TUF 14 alum Louis Gaudinot

 

UFC's Kyoji Horiguchi
UFC’s Kyoji Horiguchi

This Saturday January 3rd, 2015, at UFC 182: Jones vs Cormier, Kyoji Horiguchi and Louis Gaudinot will look to crack the top ten with a big win to start off the new year. 

 

Being on the main card of a pay-per-view like UFC 182, which features one of the most anticipated match-ups in recent history, will give both fighters a huge opportunity to show that they are one step closer to challenging the flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson. Since thousands will be in attendance and millions will be watching around the world, they cannot let this opportunity slip through their hands.

 

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UFC.com

Kyoji Horiguchi: Fighter Breakdown

Kyoji Horiguchi, at only 24 years old, has amassed an impressive resume. Due to the fact that he was basically born and bred to be a mixed martial artist, the Japanese fighter is considered to be part of the next generation coming out of Asia.

Since his father operated a karate school, Horiguchi began his life long journey as a martial artist at the age of five. He trained in this Japanese art form until he joined Krazy Bee after graduating high school. Even though he had an offer to attend university, he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a MMA fighter.

While training alongside his hero “Kid” Yamamoto, he entered an amateur tournament and crushed all four opponents in one day to win the tourney. Then, in 2010, he made his pro debut and strung up six consecutive wins, five of them were by KO/TKO over the next two years.

On January 8th 2012, at Shooto: Survivor Tournament Final, Horiguchi faced his toughest test to date in Masakatsu Ueda, the former Shooto Bantamweight Champion. It was a hard fought contest but Ueda dominated most of the match with his grappling abilities almost coming close to finishing Horiguchi with multiple submission attempts, therefore, Ueda won via majority decision.

Not feeling dejected from his previous letdown, the Japanese fighter won three straight to finish off the year and earned a shot at the Shooto bantamweight strap.

At Shooto: 2nd Round 2013, Horiguchi was pitted against Hiromasa Ogikubo for the bantamweight title. The Krazy Bee representative showed off his defensive wrestling skills and vicious ground and pound which all led to a rear-naked choke finish early in the second round. He defended the title one time when he TKO’d Shintaro Ishiwatari at Vale Tudo Japan 2nd.

After accumulating an incredible record of eleven wins with only one loss, the UFC signed Horiguchi to fight Dustin Pague at UFC 166. Although he spent most of the first round defending a rear-naked choke, in the second he delivered some devastating hammerfists and punches on the ground that made the ref jump in to the stop the fight.

Seven months later he made his first appearance at flyweight against top-ranked Darrell Montague. Throughout the fight, Horiguchi overwhelmed Montague with his speed and striking eventually leading to a unanimous victory.

In his most recent outing, Horiguchi was able to fight for the first time in Japan since signing with the UFC. At UFC Fight Night 52, he did not disappoint his hometown crowd by destroying Jon Delos Reyes with kicks, knees, and punches. The fight was stopped when the Krazy Bee fighter swarmed and hammered down with punches while Reyes was in a turtle position.

 

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UFC.com

Louis Gaudinot: Fighter Breakdown

 The American, Louis Gaudinot, has basically been a lifetime martial artist. Starting under the tutelage of Tiger Schulmann at a young age practicing karate, he has now transformed himself into one of the top flyweights in the world of mixed martial arts.

At the age of six, the New York native began training Kyokushin Karate eventually earning a fourth degree black belt from Tiger Schulmann. As his training progressed, Gaudinot added grappling and other aspects to his arsenal with Team Tiger Schulmann.

After going 3-1 as an amateur, he signed with Ring of Combat and debuted in April of 2009. He went on to win four of five within in a year and a half earning a title shot.

On September 24th, 2010 at Ring of Combat 31, Gaudinot faced Jessie Riggleman for the vacant flyweight title. The Tiger Schulmann product impressed the viewing audience with a beautiful guillotine choke with only a few seconds left in the first round.

With a spectacular run in the Ring of Combat promotion, Gaudinot was called upon by the UFC to compete on The Ultimate Fighter 14: Team Bisping vs Team Miller. Even though the tournament was for bantamweights, this did not discourage him from competing for his dream.

In the initial stage to get into the house, he had to fight Irish-born Paul McVeigh. Gaudinot won by TKO in the third round with one second left on the clock. However, in his second fight it did not go as planned. He lost to former Ring of Combat Bantamweight Champion Dustin Pague via rear-naked choke in the second round.

In late 2011, he made his official debut for the UFC at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale. Since there was no flyweight division at the time, Gaudinot opted to fight at bantamweight against fellow cast member Johnny Bedford. Unfortunately for him, he was finished by Bedford with knees in the third.

May of the next year, a flyweight division was added and Gaudinot was signed to fight heavy-handed Brazilian John Lineker at UFC on Fox 3. The Brazilian missed weight by a few pounds but the American took on the challenge and locked in a guillotine choke late in the second round to end the night early.

Three months later, Gaudinot got a chance to crack the top five in the division with a win over a tough and durable Tim Elliott at UFC 164. In the fight, Elliott totally outshined Gaudinot with constant pressure, takedowns and decent ground and pound leading to a unanimous decision.

Looking to bounce back from an embarrassing performance, the New York native flew over to London, England for UFC Fight Night 37 to face Phil Harris. It was obvious that he learned from his last outing because once Harris dropped down for a single-leg takedown, Gaudinot latched on a guillotine and pulled guard. It was not long after that when Harris tapped. Sadly though, Gaudinot was popped for a diuretic which overturned his win to a no-contest.

 

Horiguchi vs Gaudinot: Fight Analysis

 

Kyoji “Supernova” Horiguchi

MMA Record: 14 wins (9 KO/TKO, 1 Submission, 4 Decision), 1 lose (Decision)

Years Pro: 4.5 years

Measurements: 163cm Tall / 168cm Long

Ways to Win: Horiguchi needs to focus on three parts of his game; power, counter striking, and takedown defense. The main advantage he has over his opponent is his knockout power. He possesses nine wins via KO/TKO and has the killer instinct to finish anyone in the Octagon. When he sees that his foe is slightly hurt or uncomfortable with the current situation, he does not waste time and rushes in to finish the fight.

Coupled with the fact that he has heavier hands is his Machida-like striking. The Japanese fighter has a background in Karate and displays it well in the cage. He bounces all over the place landing strikes from every angle possible at the same time mixing his punches with kicks to the body well. Gaudinot likes to move forward to force a brawl so Horiguchi will be countering most of the fight.

However, “Supernova” does have to be careful and not run into a takedown. In this fight, he cannot just rush in with guns blazing without being ready to sprawl out and reset in the middle of the Octagon. Gaudinot is a well-rounded mixed martial artist so swarming in barring caution will put him flat on his back. Luckily, Horiguchi is extremely quick so he might not have a difficult time defending against the American.

A lot of people will mention his grappling and top game as strengths but in this fight he will not need to employ those tactics. If everything goes his way it will be over quick.

 

Louis “Goodnight” Gaudinot

MMA Record: 6 wins (2 KO/TKO, 2 Submission, 2 Decision), 3 loses (1 KO/TKO, 2 Decision), 1 No-Contest

Years Pro: 5.5 years

Measurements: 161cm Tall / 160cm Long

Ways to Win: In this fight, the keys to winning for Gaudinot are pressure, clinch work, and submissions. From the start of the first round, he will need to push forward and press Horiguchi against the fence as much as he can. If Horiguchi is back-pedaling it will be hard for him to throw power strikes. Gaudinot will get hit from time to time but fortunately he has a solid chin.

Once he has established a position against the fence, “Goodnight” has to smother his opponent and utilize some dirty boxing while mixing in takedowns. Even though Horiguchi has excellent grappling, he has been taken down multiple times in the past. The purpose of doing this over and over again is to frustrate Horiguchi or maybe even break him mentally.

After two rounds of constant pressure and clinch work against the cage, Gaudinot might have his chance to finish the fight in the third frame. Assuming that Horiguchi is tired or mentally broken, he will start to make mistakes and that’s where he can capitalize. If Horiguchi lunges in for a takedown then Gaudinot can lock in his favorite submission the guillotine or Gaudinot can take it to the ground himself and work something opportunistically from top position.

 

Final Thoughts: Looking at this match-up tells the viewing public about what the UFC is trying to figure out about these fighters. Gaudinot is 1-2 with a no-contest due to a failed drug test and Horiguchi is sitting undefeated at 3-0 under the UFC banner.

This contest will show if Horiguchi is ready for a top-ten or even a top-five opponent in his next fight. So far, the Japanese product has passed every test in the Octagon with flying colors and if he does the same at UFC 182, he will be one or two wins from challenging for the title.

However, Gaudinot will be fighting to keep his roster spot. Having a mediocre record and a failed drug test does not help in maintaining a good relationship with any employer. In a way, it is a must win for Gaudinot and that puts a unique spin on the situation.