Hatsu Hioki finally made his UFC featherweight debut against former Ultimate Fighter contestant George Roop. Hioki has been called the man to finally test Jose Aldo and a clear cut favorite entering the fight tonight at UFC 137. Hioki has also been called the last man to prove that Japanese MMA is still relevant on the global scale. Roop is a student of the recently passed Shawn Tompkins and has found his home at 145 pounds as the first man to knockout Chan Sung-Jung and finishing Josh Grispi with a bodyshot.
Hioki clearly had octagon jitters as he was never really able to get off on the feet. He found success in the clinch against the cage and used it to trip Roop to the ground. Once on the mat it was a grappling clinic but Hioki never did any damage with punches. It was Roop who was the more active fighter on the ground. This was basically how the first two rounds played out with Hioki doing his best ADCC competitor impression while Roop threw elbows from the bottom to the head and body.
The third and final round saw Roop finally open up on a gassed Hioki. He followed his corner's questionable advice to a T scoring two takedowns. This would ultimately be his undoing as he never came close to a finish.
The score cards were read and Hioki took a split decision over George Roop. It is most likely because of his grappling and octagon control. Post fight he said that Japanese MMA is not dead, it just needs a change.