Another one of Japan’s top mixed martial artists is set to come to the UFC.
Former DEEP Lightweight champion Katsunori Kikuno will take on former King of the Cage Welterweight champion Quinn Mulhern at the UFC Fight Night 34, Jan. 4, 2014. Kikuno involvement with the UFC has not been made official until now and I think will be an asset to the UFC’s already-stacked lightweight division.
With 12 of his wins coming by way of knockout and a black belt in Kyokushin Karate, Kikuno has good striking. He also has a black belt in Judo. Although Kikuno has the edge in striking, Mulhern has 11 wins by submission, which could give him an advantage on the ground.
This will also be Kikuno’s first time fighting in the United States.This could be difficult for Japanese fighters competing in a different environment for the first time, but fans have seen fighters like Megumi Fujii, Yushin Okami make a successful transition to fighting on American soil. Kikuno is also no stranger to fighting on a big stage as he has competed on several Dream fight cards, many of which have taken place in the 16,000-seat Osaka Castle Hall and the 37,000-seat Saitama Super Arena.
If Kikuno can make a good impression in his UFC debut, it will the open the door to a bigger path that could lead him going to the top of the UFC’s lightweight division.
How do you think Kikuno will do in the UFC? Answer with a comment below, send a tweet to @alstover or email [email protected]