Cub Swanson and Tatsuya Kawajiri are up next, and the sheer amount of experience points between the two is enough to make you say “Holy 10th-level fighters, Dungeon Master!” These two have been in the fire for years, and whereas Kawajiri hasn’t really made much of a mark since transitioning to the Octagon from the Japan scene, Swanson has been a top guy with many highs and lows.

Kawajiri wastes no time trying to karate the hell out of Swanson, leaping in with kicks and even throwing a wild spinning backfist in for good measure. Swanson dodges it all, and when he wobbles the DREAM vet with right hand, Kawajiri starts pressing hard for the takedown. He gets it around the two-and-a-half-minute mark. A little less than a minute later he’s worked into mount, and the horns sounds with Kawajiri trying to land short elbows and punches while being hugged like a teddy bear.

Swanson – desperate not to get taken down – seems gunshy in the opening of Round 2, so Kawajiri throws all manner of crazy kicks and spinning techniques to get him to expose himself. However, when Kawajiri shoots and hoists the American up for the takedown, Swanson twists in midair and lands into full mount. Swanson wastes no time working onto his back and slipping on the choke, and when Kawajiri escapes they scramble and Swanson accidentally knees him in the head while he’s on the ground. Referee John McCarthy calls a break and lets Kawajiri recover, and when they resume it’s an unholy slugfest. Great round of action that Swanson probably took on the scorecards.

The takedown comes for Kawajiri after a minute into the third, and it takes him another minute to get back up. Another takedown and another scramble up, and Swanson starts landing strikes to the point where Kawajiri is falling back and Swanson is jumping into mount. Kawajiri counters with a heelhook attempt, and after Swanson escapes he takes the Japanese vet’s back. The round ends with Swanson standing over him dropping knuckles.


Result: Cub Swanson def. Tatsuya Kawajiri via Unanimous Decision