UFC 126 will feature the Octagon
debut debut and return of two fighters who have made names for themselves in Japanese MMA: Michihiro Omigawa and Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto.
Omigawa will face Chad Mendes, a rising star from Urijah Faber's camp with a strong wrestling background. Omigawa comes into the fight on a five-bout winning streak, including this unorthodox armbar submission of Cole Escovedo. Skip to around 2:30 to catch it:
At 35, he stands in stark contrast of Mendes' youth. He has a background in judo, so when that is paired with Mendes' wrestling, a ground fight will ensure. Don't expect for this bout, scheduled to air on Spike before the pay-per-view card, to turn into a slugfest.
UPDATE: Somehow, I forgot Omigawa's first stint in the UFC. Go easy on me -- I'm in the middle of Snowpocalypse.
Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto will make his UFC debut after an up and down streak few years in Japan. The son of an Olympic wrestler, Kid didn't fight in 2008 so that he could try for a spot on the Japanese Olympic team. His dreams of wrestling in Beijing were crushed when he dislocated his elbow in a qualifying tournament.
When he did return to MMA in 2009, he suffered a shocking loss to Joe Warren, who was fighting just his second bout. That was followed by a loss to Masanori Kanehara on New Year's Eve. He finally got back in the winning column with this knockout of Federico Lopez. (Skip to the last 30 seconds of the video for the good stuff.)
Kid, who went to high school and won three state wrestling championships in Arizona, will face Demetrious Johnson on the undercard.