Fighting for the first time outside of the US, Urijah Faber will face Masanori Kanehara at UFC Fight Night 52 in September. A contender in the bantamweight division, Faber will look to win his second fight in a row since losing his shot at the title, while hometown favourite Kanehara looks for a win in his UFC debut to steal the momentum of Faber.
Urijah Faber is 31-7 as a professional, and has not lost a non-title fight in almost nine years. With notable wins over the likes of Raphael Assuncao, Michael McDonald and Eddie Wineland, ‘The California Kid’ is labelled one of the greatest fighters not to win a UFC title in the promotion’s history. With three unsuccessful attempts at gaining UFC gold, all coming in the 135lbs division, speculation arose suggesting that Faber could look to move back up to the featherweight division, though returned with a win over Alex Caceres in July.
Though Kanehara officially lost his last MMA bout, the way in which it was lost did not stop his chances of getting the call-up to the UFC. Prior to the loss, which was a DQ due to a ‘technical foul’ (Sherdog), Kanehara put together a six fight winning streak, finishing all six fights – five of which coming in the first round. With wins over Chan Sung Jung, Kid Yamamoto and Michihiro Omigawa, hardcore MMA fans have called for the UFC to sign Kanehara for years.
The 31-year old Kanehara will look to make an immediate impact by defeating a big name in Urijah Faber, who has won five of his last six bouts. Should he do so, the route to a bantamweight title shot will be very short, though Faber has lost just three times in a 10 fight UFC career, all of which coming in title fights. Can Kanehara buck this trend, or will Faber’s impressive streak continue?
The bantamweight bout has been added to the main card, which is headlined by a heavyweight battle between Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson. The event is hosted at Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan on 20 September.