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Monday, 02/13/2012, 08:35 am

Issei Tamura Steps In Against Tiequan Zhang At UFC 144

UFC Newcomer Issei Tamura

On January 30th we heard news that Leonard Garcia was forced out of his scheduled UFC 144 bout with Tiequan Zhang due to injury.

It took nearly two weeks, but the UFC has finally found a replacement and he comes in the form of Issei Tamura. Tamura is a fighter they are pulling from the local Japanese circuit on short notice to fight infront of his hometown crowd for the first time in the UFC.

UFC 144 is set to go down on February 26 live from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. As of current date, the event is expected to be headlined by a lightweight title fight between champion Frankie Edgar and challenger Benson Henderson. The event marks the UFC’s first ever return to Japan since UFC 29 in 2000.

With eight fights to his credit and an overall MMA record of 6-2 Tamura will make his UFC debut on just over two weeks-notice. Oddly enough, the Japanese fighter has lost two of his last three outings including his most recent fight, yet the UFC still handpicked him as a late replacement for Garcia.

The majority of Zhangs fights come from his homeland of China. One of many WEC imports he is 1-1 since entering the UFC’s ranks. Prior to his defection to America he was undefeated but coming into this bout he is 1-2 in his last three outings.

Continue to next page for the “Editors Breakdown and prediction.”

Read More: UFC 144, Issei Tamura (News), Tiequan Zhang (News)

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Had this been the Garcia vs. Zhang breakdown, I would have plenty to share, but alas, I can only contribute what my research has shown me about the Japanese fighter, Tamura.

Up until this point, Tamura has spent his entire career in Japans Shooto organization. As stated in the bout announcement he has 8 pro fights and has won six of those eight to other regional talent. He has never been finished, the two losses on his record where determined by points, however he himself is not much of a finisher as five of his six victories have all went the distance.

Maybe I am ignorant to his skills, surely there has to be a reason why the UFC picked him up to fight for the promotion, but after a few searches on-line I cannot drum up any tape on him to study so I am assuming, that based on his record and stats, he is outgunned and outmatched in this fight with Zhang.

Zhang is a very good, talented and durable fighter. He also has more than double as many fights as his upcoming opponent (17 to be exact). Other notable differences is that he has finished 100% of his victories by some form of stoppage and his resume reads a nice mixture of submissions and TKO’s proving he is well rounded.

Additionally, he has fought in the WEC and the UFC and he still stands to fight for the ZUFFA banner.

Based on everything presented this is likely the safest money bet of the UFC 144 card. Zhang by whatever he wants, probably first round.

Read More: UFC 144, Issei Tamura (News), Tiequan Zhang (News)

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