A Bantamweight scrap between Urijah Faber and Norifumi Yamamoto was in the pipeline for UFC’s return trip to Japan later this year. But after ‘KID’ was injured in training plans for the match-up were nixed.
Now, UFC’s latest Japanese import Masanori Kanehara steps up to the plate, and has a tall order when paired against top ranked Bantamweight Urijah Faber in his promotional debut.
Sources close to the situation confirmed the bout with Fight Sport Asia this past weekend.
Urijah Faber (31-7) returns to the cage for a third time this year. Faber was last seen dismantling Alex Caceres in Las Vegas at UFC 175 earlier this month. After his eighth win inside the Octagon, Faber during the post-fight press conference expressed his desire to be part of UFC Fight Night 52 in Japan.
Faber, 35, bounced back in his last outing having previously been stopped in a Championship bout against then Bantamweight Kingpin Renan Barao. Now with another fight lined up in the space of two months, ‘The California Kid’ aims to build momentum and get back into contention for another crack at gold, that’s currently being held by teammate T.J. Dillashaw.
Masanori Kanehara (23-11-5), a veteran of the sport for over a decade has made his rounds competing on the Asian MMA scene for the likes of Sengoku, Pancrase, ZST and DEEP. The former Sengoku Featherweight Champion went on a six-fight tear all of which came by way of stoppage in the course of two years.
Kanehara, 31, returned to the ring earlier this year at DEEP: 66 Impact, where he met talented grappler Toshiaki Kitada. The bout ended prematurely after Kanehara caught in a Guillotine Choke, forced his opponent out of the ring and was therefore unable to continue. Kitada walked away with the victory via Disqualification.
Following a long and illustrious career in his native Japan, Kanehara now turns his attention to the biggest opportunity of his professional career when he gets the chance at upsetting the odds against one of the best fighters on the planet at 135-lbs in Urijah Faber.
*UFC Fight Night 52 will be headlined by Heavyweights Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson. A bout that has serious potential to walk away with Fight of the Year honors.
Ultimate Fighting Championship, 9/20/14
“UFC Fight Night 52″
Saitama Super Arena
Mark Hunt vs. Roy Nelson
Miesha Tate vs. Rin Nakai
Myles Jury vs. Takanori Gomi
Urijah Faber vs. Masanori Kanehara
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Kyle Noke
Sam Sicilia vs. Katsunori Kikuno
John Case vs. Kazuki Tokudome
Maximo Blanco vs. Daniel Hooker
Hyun Gyu Lim vs. Takenori Sato
Kiichi Kunimoto vs. Richard Walsh
Michinori Tanaka vs. Kyung Ho Kang
Photo credit: Yoshinori Ihara
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