Takeya Mizugaki outworks Francisco Rivera in matchup of top 10 bantamweights
MAY 24, 2014 10:34p ET
LAS VEGAS -- There was a time when Takeya Mizugaki was just another roster filler. At 30 years old, however, he has found a career resurgence.
The Japanese bantamweight continued his climb up the rankings, capturing his fifth straight win by out-pointing Francisco Rivera at UFC 173. The judges scored it 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 in his favor.
The bout featured Mizugaki's ground dominance amid sporadic bursts of wild action, including one that ended the bout with both men anchored to the mat and throwing haymakers.
Mizugaki, currently ranked sixth in the division, got off to a great start, dropping Rivera with an overhand right behind the ear just 90 seconds into the bout. He swarmed his downed opponent hunting for the finish and landed several hard shots, but Rivera was able to cover up and withstand the barrage.
Rivera was able to get back to his feet and score with a thudding left hook and three takedowns.
Rivera began to find his range in the second with a right hand that cut Mizugaki by the corner of his left eye, but he gambled by pulling guard with a guillotine about two minutes in. Mizugaki pulled out and had dominant positions for the rest of the round, first on top, then on Rivera's back.
The third, however, was all Mizugaki as Rivera slipped to the mat, allowing his opponent to keep that dominant top position for nearly the entire remainder of the fight.
Mizugaki is now 20-7-2 while No. 10 Rivera fell for the first time in six fights, dropping to 10-3 with 1 no contest.