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Beyond the Octagon: UFC vets go 9-4, former WEC contender returns for KO

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Your weekly look at what big-show veterans are up to on the regional circuit.

To get you warmed up for Saturday's Ultimate Fight Night 77, here's a bevy of fight results from last weekend's regional action, featuring former fighters from the UFC, Bellator, PRIDE, and more. It's a monster round-up, so get cozy with a nice, hot mug of Xyience Xenergy and dig in.

The biggest card of the weekend was definitely the latest offering from ever-excellent Polish organization KSW. Karim Zidan has full results here. Suffice it to say, the evening proved a mixed bag for UFC veterans.

On the losing end of things, there's Jesse Taylor (29-13, 0-1 UFC, 1-1 WSOF, 0-2 Strikeforce, 1-0 Dream), who in Round 1 found himself caught in a fight-ending guillotine by Borys Mankowski (18-5-1); Andre Winner (20-10-2, 2-4 UFC), who dropped a unanimous decision to Leszek Krakowski (11-0-0); and Goran Reljic (15-5, 1-3 UFC), who lost his rematch against Tomasz Narkun (11-2-0) by first-round knockout, thus ending a four-fight surge.

In the win column, we have James McSweeney (15-13, 1-2 UFC) with a first-round rear-naked choke of Marcin Rozalski (5-4-0); Maiquel Falcao (35-7, 0-1 UFC, 3-1 Bellator), who knocked out Brett Cooper in the fight's opening minute; and Oli Thompson (16-8, 0-2 UFC), who was awarded the victory in Round 3 following the disqualification of opponent Michal Wlodarek (7-1-0). Thompson's latest win is his fourth in a row; it's been four years since he's enjoyed such a string of success. For Cooper, his loss to Falcao has occasioned his retirement. Cooper was among the earliest members of Bellator's roster, going 7-5 with the organization. He also has wins in Affliction and the IFL. During ten years of MMA competition, "Fudoshin" has claimed victories over UFC veterans Rory Markham, Joe Doerksen, and Kendall Grove, and he's gone the distance, twice, with middleweight wrecking machine Alexander Shlemenko. He retires with an overall record of 20-12-0.

Japanese promotion Pancrase put together a stacked card of its own for its 271st show, headlined by Kazuki Tokudome and Satoru Kitaoka in a contest for the organization's vacant lightweight title.

Kitaoka, who in 2009 became the inaugural Sengoku lightweight champion with his first-round achilles lock of Takanori Gomi, diligently sought the takedown throughout the fight, but Tokudome--bearing a startling size advantage--consistently repelled the submission stylist. Kitaoka showed much heart but also many signs of a losing striking battle, and in Round 4 Tokudome put the finishing touches on his work, flooring Kitaoka with a left cross and following up with hammer fists on the ground.

With what is likely the most significant victory of his career, Tokudome (15-6, 1-3 UFC) improves to 3-0 since he was last seen in the Octagon last year. Kitaoka, meanwhile, sees a recently winning streak closed off at five. He falls to 37-14-9 overall.

Also on the card, Masakatsu Ueda (20-4-2, 0-1 Bellator) claimed a unanimous decision over long-time Pancrase fighter Kosuke Terashima (12-8-3). Ueda, who holds victories over Eduardo Dantas, Jens Pulver, and Royler Gracie, has won two straight.

And earlier in the night, 40-year-old Yuki Kondo (59-30-9, 1-6 PRIDE, 0-2 Sengoku, 1-2 UFC), approaching the 20th anniversary of his MMA debut, successfully rebounded from his March knockout loss. The victory came at the expense of 47-year-old Kenji Kawaguchi, who enjoyed a five-year undefeated run in Shooto between 1989 and 1994; prior to Saturday's bout, he hadn't competed in 12 years. Kondo gave him about as rough a welcome as you could expect, pasting him with a counter right that sent him tumbling to the mat. The end came in the closing minute of Round 1. Kondo evens out his mark for the year at 1-1; Kawaguchi slips to 1-1 for this decade.

Returns to the ring were something of a theme at Pancrase 271, with Hiromitsu Miura also coming back from hiatus. Miura (10-6, 2-3 WEC, 1-1 K-1 Hero's) was last seen in 2009, fighting under the WEC banner. As part of his time with the under-appreciated organization, Miura went the distance with Jason Miller and made a valiant effort for Carlos Condit's welterweight title. However, the TKO to Condit, and a follow-up knockout at the hands of Edgar Garcia, seemed to push Miura out of MMA competition for good. But six years later, across from opponent Toshikazu Suzuki (8-5-1) on Sunday, Miura looked quite at ease, working a boxing-centric game that would pay out in Round 3. Miura caught Suzuki with a right cross as the latter reached for a double-leg. After Miura shrugged off the takedown attempt, it became clear that Suzuki was badly hurt as he crumpled to the canvas, and a barrage of follow-up strikes soon forced the referee stoppage.

Fellow WEC veteran Akitoshi Tamura (19-17-2, 1-1 Sengoku, 1-2 WEC) had a tougher time of things, dropping a unanimous decision to Kyosuke Yokoyama (5-2-1). Yokoyama has won four straight; Tamura is 1-2 for the year.

And in China, at Kunlun Fights 33, TUF: China winner Zhang Lipeng (11-9-1, 2-2 UFC) improved to 2-0 in his post-UFC career with a victory over Amr Fathee Wahman (6-8-0). Fellow TUF veteran Yang Jianping (11-4-1, 0-1 UFC) also had his hand raised that night, having put the guillotine to Tomoaki Ueyama (5-13-2) in Round 1. Yang is 4-0 since his lone UFC bout last year, though the winning streak is composed of decidedly suspect competition.

And winning the award for Catchiest Title for an Organization (Europe Division), we have MFP: Cup of the Sakhalin Administration Head 2015, which hosted Akop Stepanyan (21-7, 1-4 Bellator) and Sung Jo Jung (0-1-0) in the main event. Stepanyan made predictably short work of Jung, knocking him out in 11 seconds. This latest victory puts Stepanyan at 8-0 since his departure from Bellator.

Other Results:

At CFFC 52, Nick Pace (7-3, 1-2 UFC, 0-1 WEC, 1-0 Bellator) returned from a four-year hiatus to submit Ricky Bandejas (5-1-0) with a guillotine in Round 1, capturing the vacant bantamweight title.

Tim Williams (11-3-0) pulled himself out of a two-fight slump with a second-round rear-naked choke of Walter Howard (3-4-0).

And Sam Oropeza (12-3, 4-1 Bellator) found himself upset by LeVon Maynard (14-10, 1-3 Bellator), losing on the scorecards after three. Its Oropeza's first defeat in four years.

At CES 31, TUF: Brazil 2 alum Gil de Freitas captured the vacant welterweight title with a first-round kneebar of Chip Moraza-Pollard (10-9, 0-1 WSOF, 0-1 Bellator).

Chuck O'Neil (15-8, 0-1 UFC) tapped to a rear-naked choke from Daniel Vizcaya (9-3-0) in Round 1.

And TUF 11 hopeful Greg Rebello (19-6, 1-1 Bellator) put away Mike Mucitelli (7-3-1NC, 5-1-1NC Bellator) in the first via punches.

Finally, in the main event of Trinity SC in Hawaii, Tyson Nam (14-8, 0-2 WSOF) put together consecutive wins for the first time in three years with a split-decision over Ian Dela Cuesta (8-7-0).