The Ultimate Fighting Championship has reportedly added another of Japan’s most accomplished vets to its roster, as according to reports PRIDE and DREAM veteran Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri has signed with the promotion.
MMA Junkie.com was the first to report the signing, and MMA Fighting.com has also confirmed with sources that the 35 year-old featherweight has inked a deal with the UFC. According to both reports, Kawajiri is hoping to make his Octagon debut at the UFC’s upcoming, January 4th card in Singapore. The UFC has not made any announcement regarding the reported signing.
So, if Kawajiri is headed to the UFC, he’ll join the promotion having won five straight fights, which includes wins over vets like Joachim Hansen and Drew Fickett. Kawajiri hasn’t fought since DREAM’s NYE show last year, when he worked his way to a unanimous decision win over UFC vet Michihiro Omigawa.
The only men who have defeated the 35 year-old veteran since 2008 are decorated lightweight Shinya Aoki, and former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez, who quickly stopped Kawajiri in April, 2011. It should also be noted that Kawajiri has a UD victory over current UFC contender Josh Thomson, as he handed the lightweight a decision loss at K-1 Dynamite! in 2010.
Kawajiri made his pro debut way back in 2000, and since then has competed for various promotion’s including Shooto and PRIDE. The highly regarded grappler also holds victories over vets like Yves Edwards, “JZ” Cavalcante, Vitor Ribeiro and Donald Sanchez.
So, it will be interesting to see how Kawajiri does in the UFC’s featherweight division. Although he’s approaching the latter stages of his career, his skill set could pose some problems for some of the UFC’s established 145érs.
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