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UFC: Japan Prelims Results: Kang and Tanaka put on a show, Lim and Kikuno get stoppage wins

Check out a recap of the UFC: Japan preliminary bouts.

Kyung Ho Kang handed Michinori Tanaka his first loss in an excellent bout.
Kyung Ho Kang handed Michinori Tanaka his first loss in an excellent bout.
Photo by Anton Tabuena

Former Sengoku champion Masanori Kanehara made his long overdue UFC debut as the 'headliner' of the preliminary card in Japan. He faced 'Bruce Leeroy' Alex Caceres, who has been looking much improved as of late despite a recent loss to top contender Urijah Faber.

Four minutes into the first round, Kanehara managed to land some shots from the fence that wobbled and dropped Caceres. He managed to survive, but he spent most of the second round defending from tough spots as well, with the Japanese star spending most of the round on his back.

While down on the cards, Caceres tried to turn it up standing on the third, landing with more consistency than the two opening rounds. It was his best round of the fight, but in the end it wasn't enough to win him the fight.

Masanori Kanehara def. Alex Caceres by Decision (Unanimous)

Sam Sicilia took on Katsunori Kikuno, and while the American had some good moments standing, Kikuno was also able to land shots of his own. During the second round, Kikuno managed to take the back and as Sicilia tried to defend the body triangle, Kikuno was able to lock up the fight ending Rear Naked Choke.

Katsunori Kikuno def. Sam Sicilia by Submission (Rear Naked Choke), R2

Hyun Gyu Lim made his return against Takenori Sato, and it didn't take long before he stopped the former King of Pancrase. As Sato attempted a takedown from the fence, Lim landed several vicious elbows while defending that put Sato out.

It's Lim's 3rd knockout in 4 fights with the promotion, and the mammoth welterweight once again lived up to his reputation as one of the most dangerous and exciting fighters in the division.

Hyun Gyu Lim def. Takenori Sato by TKO (Elbows), R1

In a battle between two champions from Asia, Michinori Tanaka took on Kyung Ho Kang, with the Korean immediately landing a counter that hurt the home town prospect. He dropped Tanaka early and was winning most of the striking exchanges, but Tanaka made it real interesting, getting several takedowns and scrambles throughout the fight.

It was a bout highlighted with absolutely crazy grappling exchanges. In a bout that would be hard to beat for Fight of the Night, it had tremendous back and forth exchanges making that was very grappling-centric match one of the most entertaining in recent memory.

In the end, judges were split and Kang edged Tanaka, handing the Japanese fighter the first loss in his career.

Kyung Ho Kang def. Michinori Tanaka by Decision (Split)

Case took on Tokudome in his hometown, and after a grind out bout for most of the first two rounds, the American was able to secure a finish. He hurt Tokudome with a nice combination, and finished with a nasty guillotine choke that put him out and got him the win.

Johnny Case def. Kazuki Tokudome by Submission (Guillotine), R2.

The first fight of the night opened up with a fantastic bout between Daniel Hooker and Maximo Blanco. Both men stood toe to toe for 15 minutes, with Blanco landing several hard shots from distance and Hooker landing constantly with knees and elbows from the clinch.

Blanco landed more and won the first two rounds, but the Kiwi displayed a tremendous chin and it was his opponent who seemed to be the one wearing down as the fight went on. Hooker seemed to have hurt him on multiple occasions in the third, but in the end it wasn't enough to win him a decision.

Maximo Blanco def. Daniel Hooker by Decision (Unanimous)