Former UFC fighter Michinori Tanaka won in his return to the cage on Friday night, using his wrestling to control Ricardo Dias for a unanimous decision result.
The fight headlined LFA 117, which happened at the Visalia Convention Center in Visalia, California, USA.
Tanaka took Dias down numerous times in the fight and used dominant positions on the ground to land punches periodically.
Dias’ best moment came early, as he dropped Tanaka in the opening round with a right hand. He wasn’t able to follow-up on that shot much, as Tanaka was quick to take him down after.
Tanaka was competing in the U.S. for the first time since his five-fight UFC run. His two more recent wins, a decision and submission victory in Japan, took place in 2019 and 2017 respectively.
Dias entered the fight having won his previous three bouts. He had a stoppage victory in May, defeating George Garcia at LFA 107.
Horiuchi Picks Up Quick Win, Hands Climaco First Loss
Yuma Horiuchi had an explosive win in Friday’s co-main event, handing Mark Climaco his first pro loss with strikes.
Horiuchi dropped Climaco early in the opening round with a two-punch combination that ended with a right cross. Horiuchi was quick to pounce Climaco on the ground, landing ground and pound shots to end the fight.
Horiuchi challenged for LFA’s flyweight belt in his previous appearance, losing a close split decision to Charles Johnson in July.
Climaco entered the fight with an undefeated record of six wins, including two victories in LFA earlier this year.
Dagvadorj Breaks Losing Streak With Quick Win Over Williams
Batsumberel Dagvadorj returned to the win column Friday, stopping Emilio Williams within a round to secure his first win in LFA.
Dagvadorj took Williams down early in the first round. He quickly moved into full mount, where he unleashed a steady flurry of strikes that eventually caused the end of the fight.
Williams seemingly suffered a leg injury during the bout, as he was grabbing his right knee after the result. It was overheard in his corner that the injury might have come from the takedown that Dagvadorj secured.
Dagvadorj broke a two-fight losing streak with the win. One of his losses was an LFA title fight, where he had a five-round war against Maycon Mendonca for a unanimous decision result.
Williams was coming off a first-round stoppage victory that he earned in April.
Bellator Alum Amil Wins In Return
Undefeated fighter Hyder Amil had a successful return to action on Friday, stopping a tough Robson Junior late in the second round with strikes.
Amil nearly finished the fight late in the opening round, knocking Junior down with a right hand two times.
Amil hurt Junior again in the second round with a right hook. He continued to pour on with strikes for the next minute or so, continuing the one-sided battle until the referee stopped the fight.
Amil was returning to competition after not competing for most of this year and all of last year. He entered Friday with an impressive four-fight undefeated record that included three wins in Bellator.
Junior lost his LFA debut in June, getting stopped by Edwin Cooper Jr. in the second round.
Craig Wins Pro Debut Against Avalos
Jeff Craig won his pro debut to open the main card, defeating Christian Avalos via unanimous decision after a scrappy three-round striking battle.
Most of the catchweight bout, which was contested five pounds over the welterweight limit, happened at a stand-up range. The fighters had a close battle that saw both of them have a high output of strikes.
One of Craig’s flashiest strikes was in the second round, where he cut Avalos with a spinning back elbow to the head.
Craig turned pro after an undefeated six-fight run as an amateur. When counting the amateur bouts, Friday was Craig’s fourth win of the year.
Avalos was returning for his second pro bout. His first fight was back in 2018, where he submitted Henry Mendez within a round.
Bout 9: Albert Gonzales (2-3) vs. Dominic Sumner (1-3) (Catchweight 175 lbs) (Result Pending)
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 7:00PM PDT) (UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 8: Michinori Tanaka def. Ricardo Dias via Decision, Unanimous (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27)
Bout 7: Yuma Horiuchi def. Mark Climaco via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 1:52)
Bout 6: Batsumberel Dagvadorj def. Emilio Williams via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 2:19)
Bout 5: Hyder Amil def. Robson Junior via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 3:26)
Bout 4: Jeff Craig def. Christian Avalos via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 3: Liovardo Garfias def. Marcelino Silva via Submission, Keylock (RD 1, 1:37) (Amateur)
Bout 2: Scott Hokit def. Raul Mendoza via Decision, Unanimous (Amateur)
Bout 1: Ramon Juarez def. Xavier Chavez via Decision, Unanimous (Amateur)