An injury to UFC veteran Urijah Faber has prompted a shuffling of the lineup at Fight Night 52 in Japan. Talented bantamweight Alex Caceres has gotten the call for the Sept. 20 matchup against promotional newcomer Masanori Kanehara. Both Caceres and Kanehara will be looking to rebound after tasting defeat in their last fights.
Caceres gave a solid account of himself against “The California Kid” at UFC 175 before being submitted by Faber in the third and final round. He had his share of solid moments against the former three-time title challenger, and it wasn’t the wipe out that some had been expecting. The loss snapped the flamboyant “Bruce Leeroy’s” five-fight undefeated streak.
The TUF 12 alum’s finest UFC performance was a submission victory over highly-touted prospect Sergio Pettis. That come-from-behind triumph earned Caceres both Submission and Fight of the Night bonuses at UFC on FOX 10. He’s fighting with plenty of confidence and is currently ranked No. 10 in the division. The 26-year-old Caceres has gone 5-2 with one no-contest since making the move down to bantamweight and his career is trending in an upward direction.
Kanehara is a veteran of 39 professional fights that have all been contested in Japan. He’s fought for a number of promotions and is a former Sengoku featherweight champion. He saw his six-fight win streak, that included six finishes, snapped in his last fight when he was disqualified against Toshiaki Kitada at Deep 66. Officials ruled that he had intentionally thrown his opponent out of the ring. Kanehara has eight knockouts and nine submission wins to his credit in 23 career victories. He holds notable victories over Chan Sung Jung and Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto.
It’ll be very interesting to see if Caceres can continue to raise his stock as a legitimate bantamweight contender against the seasoned Japanese veteran. Kanehara can make a major splash in his UFC debut at Saitama Super Arena if he is able to knock off a top-10 opponent.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports